Skip to main content

NGO Workers Sentenced By Egyptian Court

The verdicts in the case prove the timidity of the Obama administration in engaging with the failures of Egypt’s democratic transition.
Friends of Egyptian suspects react after hearing the judge's verdict at a court room during a case against foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cairo June 4, 2013. An Egyptian court sentenced at least 15 U.S. citizens in absentia to five years in jail on Tuesday and one American who stood trial was jailed for two years in a case against private foreign groups seeking to promote democracy.  Judge Makram Awad also ordered the closure of the NGOs, including the U.S.-based International Republican I

The Cairo Criminal Court slammed 43 NGO workers — including 19 Americans, 16 Egyptians, along with Germans, Serbs, Norwegians, Palestinians, and Jordanians — with prison sentences ranging from one to five years and 1,000 Egyptian pound fines in convictions on June 4 in the so-called foreign funding case. The case, which dragged on for a year and a half, followed indictments in February 2012 accusing staff of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of working for unlicensed institutions and receiving illegal funding.

One of the most severe crackdowns on Egyptian civil society in recent memory, the case is a microcosm of larger failures. For Egypt, it is a continuation of Mubarak-era paranoid thinking and sham justice within the Egyptian state apparatus. Both are now used actively by the Mohammed Morsi regime or given a pass as they serve the regime’s purposes in tightening its control over the state. The case furthermore exemplifies the duality of Egypt’s simultaneous resentment and dependency on Western powers.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.