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'Egypt wanted to swap US- detained terrorist in exchange for lifting travel ban on Americans'


March 7, 2012 - Cairo

Egyptian demonstrators wanted to swap one of the most notorious terrorists in U.S. custody in exchange for lifting the travel ban imposed on Americans, an NGO worker has revealed.

International Republican Institute's Deputy Program Director John Tomaszewski said that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's supporters stepped up pressure to detain democracy workers in the country but the calls for Americans' heads by Cairo protesters show the country has a long way to go to achieve the true democracy.

"There's this longstanding demonstration camp, but the day of the trial this group of individuals had demonstrated outside of the courtroom-essentially saying ridiculous things like 'trade the Americans for the blind sheik. And then hang the Egyptians who were accused, and this is how we'll deal with this problem," Fox News quoted Tomaszewski, as saying.

He claimed that several influential individuals of Mubarak era had created the legal case against Ngo workers.

"They don't have a lot of hard evidence, and they know it. It's based on evidence that's trumped up by politicians and remnants of the old Mubarak regime, and that's what we're facing right now," he added.

Tomaszewski is currently in the United States after the lifting of the ban imposed by the Egyptian government, which accused Tomaszewski and his colleagues of running unregistered NGOs and using foreign funding to provoke unrest in the country

Tomaszewski said IRI lawyers are considering the next step for them.

He said U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson was instrumental in brokering an agreement with Egypt to keep Americans safe.

"Ambassador Patterson made this offer for us to be her guests in the embassy. A discussion took place between my organization's leadership and her and others within the U.S. government and a decision was made for us to go there and we complied," he added.

ANI

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