AFP: German Foreign Minister Calls Attacks Against NGOs ‘Unacceptable’

Germany slams Egypt decision to put NGOs on trial
Agence France Presse

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Sunday slammed Egypt’s decision to try 44 people in connection with the funding of non-governmental organisations, terming it “unacceptable”.

“From our point of view it is unacceptable to harm organisations that have a real international mission which they take on seriously,” Westerwelle told ARD television according to an early release transcript.

“We shall act, in the framework of our foreign policy towards Egypt, in such a way as to ensure that political organisations that have a worldwide reputation are allowed to continue working as they have done,” he said.

An Egyptian official had earlier said that 44 people, including Egyptians, Americans and other nationals, have been referred to the Cairo criminal court in connection with NGO funding.

They are accused of “setting up branches of international organisations in Egypt without a license from the Egyptian government” and of “receiving illegal foreign funding,” the court official said.

The move will further strain US-Egypt ties after the offices of several NGOs, including US organisations International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, were raided by police in December.

Egypt then barred some US members of the NGOs from leaving the country and American officials said “a handful” took refuge inside the US embassy.

Washington has threatened to review its aid to Egypt.

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