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Egypt sentences 43 NGO staffers for working illegally

Al-Akhbar | June 4, 2013

A Cairo court on Monday sentenced 43 Egyptian and foreign employees of several non-governmental organizations to jail sentences ranging from one to five years for working illegally.

Twenty-seven of the defendants were sentenced in absentia to five years by the Cairo criminal court.

Five defendants who were present in the country, including one American, were sentenced to two years behind bars while the remaining 11 defendants were given one-year suspended sentences, an AFP reporter in court said.

Judge Makram Awad also ordered the closure of the NGOs where the sentenced staff worked.

These include US-based NGOs Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute, as well as the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The defendants were charged with receiving illicit foreign funds and operating without a license.

The trial began last year following raids of the groups’ offices which led to a crisis in relations between Egypt and Washington.

The raids in December came after an order from judges tasked with investigating the groups’ foreign funding.

The groups allegedly did not obtain licenses to operate or permission from the foreign and social solidarity ministries, the prosecutor general’s office had said in a statement.

A travel ban was issued denying the accused of traveling out of Egypt in January 2013. It was lifted a month later.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment