Six Americans and 34 other NGO affiliates to be tried in Egyptian criminal court

Ahram Online, Sunday 5 Feb 2012

Egypt's investigators decide to press criminal charges against six Americans for unauthorised funding of NGOs, amidst already tense diplomatic relations

NGO raids in Cairo
Workers from a non-governmental organization National Democratic Institute, or NDI, wait as Egyptian officials raid their office in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, 29 December, 2011. (Photo:AP)

Forty NGO personnel -- including Egyptians and six Americans -- are accused of influencing political groups in Egypt by offering funding through their NGOs and will be prosecuted as a result of the ministry of justice investigation.

Some suspects were shocked to discover that they were being investigated and that they were not allowed to leave the country, which sent alarms through diplomatic channels in the US. The US responded by demanding that Egypt's ruling military stop "endangering American lives."

The accused will stand trial in the Cairo criminal court with the travel ban still in place; six of whom are Americans working for publicly-funded US organisations in Egypt.

Notably, Sam LaHood  – the son of US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood – works for the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute and is among those not allowed to leave Egypt.

A month earlier, police raided the Cairo offices of several US funded non-governmental organisations.

Washington had indicated before the raid that it is considering reviewing the $1.3 billion it gives the Egyptian military each year if they continued to intimidate the NGO employees.

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