The Egyptian court set another date for the trial of aid workers accused of “fraud” after none of the Americans appeared in court on Sunday (Feb. 26).
The judge handling the case adjourned the trial, rescheduling it on April 26. Sarwat Abdel Shadi, one of the lawyers of the Americans, said “we have not read or even seen any of the case documents.” There are speculations that the trial was postponed and reset in April to coincide with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision on U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt, according to InterAction. Clinton has to certify that Egypt is making progress toward democracy before the aid can be delivered.
Egyptian authorities raided nongovernmental organizations’ offices in December. In January, it referred 43 NGO workers to court, accusing them of using foreign funds to foment unrest in the country. The case has led to strained relations between the United States and Egypt.
Clinton declined to discuss the details of the negotiations regarding the Americans on trial or what the case could do to the two countries’ 30-year relationship. She, however, said she does not want to turn the issue into a “dramatic situation.”
“We have a problem. … We have a problem with a lot of our friends around the world,” she said.
Of the 16 Americans referred to trial, only seven are in Egypt. Those in the country, including Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, are believed to be staying at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, CNN reports.
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