US Senate approves cutting Egypt aid by $5 million, cites NGO activists bail

Reuters and Ahram Online, Thursday 24 May 2012

'I'll be darned if I am going to give [the Egyptian government] that money,' says US Senator Leahy, after the decision was made

File Photo: One of the 14 Egyptian activists accused of working for unlicensed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and receiving illegal foreign funds, speaks with American Robert Becker (L) of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in a cage during their trial in Cairo March 8, 2012. (Reuters)

US senators subtracted $5 million from aid provided to Egypt on Wednesday, to reimburse the US Treasury for money it paid to bail out American pro-democracy activists facing charges there earlier this year.

"I'll be darned if I am going to give them (the Egyptian government) that money," Leahy said.

The total value of US aid to Egypt is around $1.7 billion per year.

The Senate foreign aid subcommittee approved a total of $52.1 billion for the State Department and US foreign aid for the 2013 fiscal year that starts in October.

That was $2.6 billion below the Obama administration's request. House appropriators recently approved even less money - $48.3 billion.

In late December, the Cairo offices of at least five non-governmental organisations ‎‎(NGOs) were raided by officials from ‎Egypt’s public prosecution office backed by police and military personnel.

Egyptian authorities are still conducting investigations into local and foreign employees who worked for Cairo-based NGOs in receipt of overseas funding.

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