Bloomberg: Egypt Adjourns Trial of Pre-democracy NGOs

Egypt Trial of 43 Pro-Democracy Workers Adjourned Until April 10
Bloomberg News
By Tarek El-Tablawy and Abdel Latif Wahba

A judge adjourned a case against 43 pro-democracy workers charged with illegally using foreign funds until April 10, in a case that strained U.S.-Egyptian ties and sparked claims of American meddling in Egypt’s affairs.

Judge Makram Awad also issued an arrest warrant for the missing defendants, including at least 15 Americans who have left Egypt. Of the Egyptians and foreigners charged, only 15 were in court, including one American.

Just minutes after today’s hearing in Cairo began, Awad recessed the session as arguments broke out among the lawyers, with those representing the defendants saying it was intended to be a procedural hearing. The standing-room-only session marked the start of a new hearing in a case that went to trial last month, only to end abruptly.

The first session on Feb. 26, which none of the foreigners attended, was adjourned for two months. In a surprise move, the judges presiding over the case then recused themselves.

Days later, a travel ban imposed on the foreigners was lifted and most of them, including Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left the country. LaHood works for the International Republican Institute, one of two NGOs linked to the two main U.S. political parties, whose workers have been charged. Only seven of the Americans were in Egypt when the case began.

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