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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid