Egypt bans travel for members of US-funded group

Reuters, Thursday 26 Jan 2012

Four members of the US-funded International Republican Institute have been banned from travel as investigations continue on the NGOs activities in Egypt

Egypt's authorities have imposed a travel ban on four members of a US-funded pro-democracy organisation in a row over its activities, a member of an NGO with knowledge of the case said Thursday, a step expected to escalate tensions with the United States.

The four members of the International Republican Institute (IRI) include three US citizens. One is Sam LaHood, IRI's Egypt director, who is the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

"It is a de facto detention," the NGO source in Cairo told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

The judges investigating the case have charged the four with managing an unregistered NGO and being paid employees of an unregistered organisation, charges that could carry up to five years in jail, he said. The IRI had no immediate comment.

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