Is Egypt’s Trial of NGOs Setback for Democracy?

Amid the euphoria of the Tahrir Square revolution last year, the US-Egyptian relationship hit a hard bottom when the Egyptian police raided the Cairo offices of 10 NGOs in December, including four American ones — the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists. A total of 43 staffers, of which 19 were American citizens, were accused by mismanaging the NGOs by not filing the registration paperwork fully in accordance with Egyptian law, and therefore receiving illegal money from outside the country and spending it illegally on political campaigns.

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but the trial is still far from over. On Tuesday, October 2, the Cairo Criminal Court will resume, hopefully for the last round of witness testimony. “I have no idea what my schedule is on October 3,” said Robert Becker, one of the two Americans staying in the country fighting the charges, in an interiew to Al-Monitor. “I just want them over. We all want to get our lives back.”

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Categories: Al-Monitor