News / Middle East

US Citizens Banned From Leaving Egypt Take Refuge at Embassy

U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland  (File)
U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (File)

Several U.S. democracy activists who are being prevented from leaving Egypt have taken refuge at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. 

One week after Egyptian officials turned them away from Cairo's airport, several American pro-democracy activists are living in the U.S. embassy compound because State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says they feel more comfortable there.

Egyptian officials say the members of U.S. non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, are part of an investigation into the alleged use of foreign funds to sponsor anti-government protests.

Nuland told reporters on Monday that U.S. officials do not believe that any of the Americans face physical threats in Egypt and that none have been charged with a crime.

“It's not terribly transparent exactly what the circumstances of this case are at this moment," she said. "They, therefore, asked to come in. And the embassy was within their right to invite them, and that is what has happened.”

Nuland made clear that the embassy's decision to invite these Americans to stay in the diplomatic compound was not meant to circumvent Egypt's judicial process.

“There is no expectation that any of these individuals are seeking to avoid any kind of judicial process," added Nuland. "In fact, with regard to the larger question of NGO issues in Egypt, as we have said many times, these organizations have been endeavoring to cooperate with the judicial process. They have been making themselves available for interviews. As you know, their offices were also raided, so the government has all of their information as well.”

Egyptian authorities seized computers, documents and tens of thousands of dollars in raids on the offices of 17 NGOs late last year.

Analyst Marou Innocent of the Washington-based Cato Institute research group says the crackdown on NGOs highlights a long-running mistrust in Egyptian society.

“Unfortunately, many of those who are in the regime who have an interest in the status quo will continue to push the narrative that these foreign NGOs are sort of proxies of greater powers, that they are pushing their own agenda.  And some of them certainly are against certain interests," said Innocent. "But the vast majority of them are helping the revolution and helping those more liberal Egyptian protestors. I think that going forward, we are going to see more Egyptians demanding control over their own destiny and shaping their own future.”

Among the groups closed in the December raids are the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute - both of which receive some U.S. government funding. Marou Innocent says that makes them targets of Egyptians who are resentful of decades of American support for former president Hosni Mubarak.

“After 30 years of dictatorship of authoritarian backing from the United States, a lot of Egyptians feel that the United States was responsible for the tyranny that they experienced," added Innocent. "That is a very legitimate concern. It is a very legitimate grievance. Hopefully, going forward, U.S. interests can continue within Egypt and within the region, but not to the detriment of the Egyptian people.”

State Department Spokeswoman Nuland says diplomats are still working to resolve the stand-off without further escalation.

An Egyptian military delegation is visiting Washington on a trip arranged before this latest dispute over NGOs.  Nuland says she is certain the delegation is hearing about Washington's displeasure over the travel ban in every meeting they attend.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid