News / Middle East

US Lawmaker Vows to Block US Military Aid to Egypt

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy wraps up a talk to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington April 29, 2014.
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy wraps up a talk to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington April 29, 2014.
Victor Beattie
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said he intends to block aid to Egypt’s military until he sees “convincing evidence” the interim military-backed government is committed to the rule of law. The lawmaker’s statement came as Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met with Secretary of State John Kerry and insisted his country is moving forward on the path to democracy.
Speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor, Patrick Leahy, chairman of the subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, denounced what he called the “sham trial” Monday during which a court reportedly sentenced to death nearly 700 supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Leahy called it a “flaunting of human rights” by the Egyptian government and “an appalling abuse of the justice system,” which he said is fundamental to democracy.
"Nobody, nobody can justify this. It doesn’t show democracy. It shows a dictatorship run amok. It is a total violation of human rights. So, I’m not prepared to sign off on the additional delivery of aid for the Egyptian military. I’m not prepared to do that until we see convincing evidence the government is committed to the rule of law," said Leahy.
On Monday, the United States said it was “deeply troubled” by the mass death sentence verdict. White House officials said “it defies even the most basic standards of international justice.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm saying the “verdicts…appear not to meet basic fair trial standards” and they “are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability.”
The case stemmed from deadly riots last year after security forces violently disbanded protests held by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Last month, the same court in Minya sentenced 529 defendants to death, drawing similar international criticism.
Meeting in Washington Tuesday with Fahmy, Kerry insisted the United States wants the interim Egyptian government to be successful.
"We are hopeful and look for a political process of inclusivity, a constitution implemented which brings people politically to the table and broadens the democratic base of Egypt," said Kerry.
Kerry called the recent court rulings “disturbing decisions” that raise serious challenges.
Fahmy said the judicial system is independent of the government.
"I can’t comment on the content of the decisions themselves, but I’m confidence that due process is allowed and that the legal system will ultimately end up with the proper decisions in each of these cases," said Fahmy.
He said his country will build a democracy based on the rule of law, and that the people of Egypt want democracy and a better future. Fahmy also said the country is moving forward, pointing to the constitution, a presidential election next month, and a parliamentary election which will come after the presidential one.
The Obama administration has relaxed a ban on military aid to Cairo imposed in the wake of the violence that followed Morsi's ouster last year. Last week, the Defense Department announced $650 million in military aid and 10 Apache helicopters for Cairo. On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the aid has the blessing of President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
"This is a relationship, from a military-to-military perspective, that matters.  It’s important, and we want to see it continue," said Kirby.
Kirby said the aid is for Egypt’s security requirements in the Sinai and promised to consult with members of Congress and keep them informed as the aid moves forward.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs