Egypt resets NGO trial

    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.

    Read more news on Egypt and development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.