Egypt Sets NGO Trial Date
Egyptian authorities announced that “ 43 civil society workers, including at least 16 Americans, will face trial on Feb. 26 over illegal foreign funding for nongovernmental organizations.” There are still Americans taking refuge at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and it unsure whether or not they will attend the trials. Other Americans who are still living in Cairo said they expect to attend the trials without being detained. Some say the trials are motivated politically, not legally, as organizations such as National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) have applied and been neither approved nor denied to be officially recognized since Mubarak’s regime. ”It is primarily a political issue, so we still hope that it will be resolved at the political level,” he said. “But as an organization, we’re prepared to move along through the system,” said Les Campbell, Middle East and North Africa director for NDI.
Meanwhile, Farouq Sultan the head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court said nominations for presidential candidates will open March 10th and last four weeks, and though official election dates have not been set yet, Sultan has vowed they will be before the end of June. Additionally, Egypt has been the most recent Arab nation to withdraw its ambassador from Syria, further isolating the country. Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr decided Sunday during a meeting with Ambassador Shukri Ismael to keep the envoy in Cairo until further notice.