Egypt court to hear testimony in NGO foreign funding case in November

Ahram Online, Tuesday 2 Oct 2012

Cairo criminal court to hear testimony in ongoing foreign NGOs case on 3 November; Two witnesses Tuesday dismiss allegations that NGOs sought to 'sow division' in Egypt

Egypt court to hear testimony in NGO
Egyptian activists who were accused of working for unlicensed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and receiving illegal foreign funds, stand in a cage during the opening of their trial in Cairo February 26, 2012(Photo: Reuters)

A Cairo criminal court is slated to hear testimony on 3 November in the case of dozens of foreign NGO workers accused earlier this year of operating in Egypt without government permission.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, the court on Tuesday heard testimony from two witnesses in the case: the manager of a foreign NGO operating in the Upper Egyptian Sohag governorate, and the secretary-general of Egypt's Ghad Al-Thawra Party.

Both men denied allegations that the training sessions provided by the NGOs in question had sought to "sow division within the country."

In his testimony, the manager of the NGO operating in Sohag stated that the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI) had organised workshops on how to manage electoral campaigns.

After the judge asked the witness about whether the training courses had discussed how to work with the armed forces and police during elections, the latter reportedly answered in the negative.

The second witness, the secretary-general of Egypt's Ghad Al-Thawra Party (established in the wake of last year's revolution), stated that his work with the IRI had begun in 2005. He went on to assert that the NGOs in question should be "commended" for their efforts.

The party head added that he had earlier travelled to Dubai, along with members of the Egypt's Salafist Nour Party and the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, to receive training.

In February, 43 foreign NGO workers of different nationalities were accused of operating in Egypt and receiving US funds without the appropriate authorisation.

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