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Egypt sets trial date for 44 NGO workers, including 19 Americans over 'illegal foreign funding'

February 19, 2012 - Cairo

Egypt has announced that the criminal trial for 44 civil society workers, including nearly 19 Americans, will start on February 26 over charges of illegal foreign funding for non-governmental organisations.

Egyptian authorities earlier said that they would prosecute the workers on charges of allegedly receiving foreign funds illegally and being involved in banned activities in the Islamic country.

According to Fox News, the prosecution of the employees on charges of illegally distributing foreign funds and running unregistered organizations has diminished hopes that the US and Egypt might reach a diplomatic, rather than a legal resolution to the worsening flap.

The trial date further raises the troubling prospect that six of the indicted Americans who still live in Egypt could soon face arrest.

It also creates an awkward moment for the US State Department as at least three of the seven indicted Americans who still live in Egypt are currently taking refuge at the US Embassy as guests of the American ambassador, including Sam LaHood, the son of US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

According to the report, if convicted of the charges, the NGO employees could face a financial penalty and up to five years in prison.


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