Sherif Mansour, U.S. citizen who faces NGO charges in Egypt, freed until verdict is reached

 

McClatchy Newspapers

Lawyers for defendants in Egypt’s case against American nongovernmental organizations charged with operating illegally in the country accused the government Tuesday of delaying the release of key documents the lawyers say are needed to defend their clients.

The case against employees of the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and other groups working to train political parties nearly ruptured U.S.-Egyptian relations last fall before Egypt agreed to allow the American defendants, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, to leave the country.

The lawyers’ complaints come at a time when many Egyptians suspect that the ruling military council is orchestrating recent events, including the life sentence handed out to former President Hosni Mubarak even as his aides were acquitted in the deaths of demonstrators, to give an appearance of reform while maintaining the status quo.

Sixteen Americans are among the 43 defendants who face charges that they illegally received foreign funds in the case, which a Cairo criminal court adjourned until July 4. Only two Americans, however, are in Egypt to face prosecutors.

One of those, Egyptian-American Sherif Mansour, a former employee of Washington-based Freedom House, was brought to court Tuesday in handcuffs and under heavy guard. Mansour was detained Sunday at Cairo International Airport as he returned to Egypt from the United States. The judge, Makram Awwad, ordered Mansour released until a verdict is reached. The other defendants already had been ordered released, including the other American who’s still in Egypt, Robert Becker, a former employee of the National Democratic Institute.

Khaled el Shalakani, a defense lawyer for four Egyptian employees of the International Republican Institute, demanded that the court order the Foreign Ministry to produce the files it had kept on the institute’s efforts to register in the country. Shalakani said the files would show that the institute had filed regularly since 2006 seeking permission to operate in the country. He said the government had made copies of such files available for all the organizations being prosecuted except for the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which are chartered by the U.S. Congress and are affiliated with the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties.

“They were operating publicly through official channels,” Shalakani told McClatchy. He said the file “proves IRI had nothing to hide.”

The move against the NGOs has been a sore point with U.S. officials and average Egyptians. American officials long have complained that Egypt refused to formally grant permission for the NGOs to operate so the government could control their activities, while Egyptians have complained that allowing the Americans to leave before the case was settled showed undue U.S. influence over the government.

Sabry is a McClatchy special correspondent.

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Nearly 3 million Syrian children not in school

    Nearly three million Syrian children are not attending school due to the war raging in their country, an international charity group said Thursday.

  •  
In this Feb. 4, 2013 photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Turkic Uighur ethnic minority, speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. Tohti was set to go on trial on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 on separatism charges in the country's far western region of Xinjiang.

    Minority scholar denies separatism at China trial

    A Muslim Uighur scholar accused of separatism sought to show Thursday that his writings and classroom lectures, including rhetoric saying Chinese are dragons and Uighurs are wolves, were not a campaign to split his native Xinjiang region from China.

  •  
The historical kilt and outfit of Scottish independence referendum Yes campaign supporter and member of a Scottish historical re-enactment group Ed Hastings  are seen as he chats to people on Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.  The two sides in Scotland's independence debate scrambled Tuesday to convert undecided voters, with just two days to go until a referendum on separation.  The pitch of the debate has grown increasingly urgent. Anti-independence campaigners argue that separation could send the economy into a tailspin, while the Yes side accuses its foes of scaremongering.

    A guide to Scotland as independence vote nears

    The people of Scotland will decide on Thursday whether to end a partnership with the rest of the United Kingdom that has lasted more than 300 years. Here is a guide to Scotland as the historic vote nears.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category