Craig Eisele on …..

March 4, 2012

Egyptian NEW Elected Political Power’s Upset Over Military Allowing 15 Accused NGO Foreigners to Leave

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 11:11 am

(Reuters) – A senior Egyptian politician spoke out on Saturday against “flagrant interference” behind Cairo’s decision to lift a travel ban on American pro-democracy activists accused of receiving illegal funds, echoing growing anger over the move.

The decision to allow the eight Americans – part of a group of 15 foreigners – to fly out of Cairo on Thursday defused the first diplomatic standoff in decades between the United States and Egypt, but raised questions from politicians over possible pressure by the ruling military on judges.

Saad al-Katatni, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, vowed on Saturday that all those involved in the decision would be held accountable.

A special parliamentary inquiry on March 11 would summon the prime minister and other government officials to investigate the circumstances surrounding the decision, he said, as the two houses of parliament convened to draw up the criteria to pick an assembly to write Egypt’s constitution.

“We do not accept any form of foreign interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, under any justification,” said Katatni, who is also a leading official in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

“We will not allow anyone, regardless of who it is, to impact the sovereignty of this country and its institutions.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former chief of the U.N nuclear watchdog and an influential opposition activist, warned interference in the judiciary was a “fatal blow to democracy.”

Egyptian authorities had accused the campaigners, including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, of working for groups receiving illegal foreign funding and prevented them from leaving the country. Their departure came after days of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Washington and Cairo.

Critics accused the generals, who have ruled the country since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year, of bowing to American pressure while others say the domestic credibility of officials and the judges who have led the criminal investigation into pro-democracy non-profit groups was increasingly in doubt.

ACCOUNTABLE

“It is within parliament’s role to stand up to this crime and to hold all those involved accountable, regardless of who they are and what their positions may be,” said Katatni.

“This was a flagrant interference into the judiciary’s work.”

The foreigners were among 43 people charged with working for groups receiving illegal foreign funds. Among the 15 who left Cairo were three Serbs, two Germans, one Norwegian and one Palestinian, Egypt’s official news agency said.

Airport sources said they left on a U.S. plane sent to get them. The group later arrived in Cyprus, where they were met by U.S. embassy staff.

Katatni questioned how a U.S. military plane had landed in Cairo’s airport before the ban was lifted and why the judge in the case had stepped aside just days before the decision.

A number of influential judges have slammed the decision, with the former head of the Alexandria Appeals Court, Ahmed Mekky, saying the decision highlighted “how the judiciary was not independent and subject to political pressure.”

Some defense lawyers, however, argue the decision to lift the ban was legal because imposing the ban in the first place had breached regulations. The U.S. state department said it paid $300,000 bail for each defendant.

The case against the activists remains open and a new court will start the trial on Thursday, March 8, said Judge Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the Cairo Appeals Court who appoints judges to the case.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Symposium | George Mason Law Review1A Torch-Like Spirit » Daily Closer to Christ1Egyptian NEW Elected Political Power’s Upset Over Military Allowing 15 Accused NGO Foreigners […]

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    Pingback by Resources for Judges 15:8 - 9 — March 4, 2012 @ 11:17 pm


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