US Pro-Democracy Workers on Trial in Egypt (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Chana Ya´ar 02/26/12)
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Despite intense talks and other pressure, the new Egyptian government
is adamant: 19 American employees of pro-democracy NGOs are to be
tried on on Sunday, although not all will be in the courtroom, said
their attorney, Negad El-Borei. They will be charged with illegally
receiving foreign funds and working in Egypt without licensing,
according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
A total of 45 nonprofit organization workers, including Egyptian
employees, are accused of receiving salaries paid illegally by
foreign governments. The charges include accusation of subversive
activities and carrying out political activities unrelated to civil
society functions. All were slapped with a travel ban and were
forbidden to leave the country pending trial, although some were
already abroad when the ban was enacted.
Over the past three days, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has
met twice with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in the
Moroccan capital of Rabat, a senior U.S. source said on condition of
American and Egyptian military leaders also previously met for talks
on the issue in Washington D.C., but made no progress. Both the
country´s ruling Supreme Military Council and its parliamentary
leaders have said that since the case was initiated by the judiciary,
they have no jurisdiction over the matter.
The case revolves around the issue of foreign funding of pro-
democracy groups and their encouragement of activities that affect
the country´s political system. The organizations contend that their
activities are aimed at civil society initiatives. Egyptian judicial
officials, however, have accused the groups of plotting to undermine
the new Islamist-controlled Egyptian government – a conspiracy theory
vigorously denied by both the NGOs and the U.S. government.
Among the targeted groups are the International Republic Institute
(IRI) – led by Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood – and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 02/26/12)
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