Conflict & Justice

Egyptian Court Hands Out Jail Sentences to Foreign NGO Employees

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Credit:

REUTERS

One of the 14 Egyptian activists accused of working for unlicensed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and receiving illegal foreign funds, stands in a cage during their trial in Cairo March 8, 2012. An Egyptian judge said on Thursday he was delaying until April 10 the trial of civil society activists including 16 Americans accused of receiving illegal foreign funds and pursuing their pro-democracy activities without a licence. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR2Z159

A court in Egypt ordered jail sentences for 43 pro-democracy workers, most of them foreigners.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

The group includes several Americans who left Egypt and were sentenced in absentia.

They were charged with operating illegally in the country.

US Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the ruling, saying it ran counter to Egypt's transition to democracy.

Six staff members of the human rights group Freedom House were among those sentenced to jail.

Their offices in Egypt were shut down in 2011, after the government raided non-governmental groups in Cairo.

Charles Dunne is Freedom House's director of Middle East and North Africa programs.

He himself was sentenced to five years in jail.

Dunne says Freedom House had been operating in full compliance with Egyptian law.

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