Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Egypt lifts travel ban on Americans, lawyers say

CAIRO — At least seven Americans employed by pro-democracy groups in Egypt who have been under criminal investigation will be allowed to leave the country, Egyptian lawyers involved in the case said Wednesday, suggesting that Washington and Cairo might be close to resolving the controversy.

Egypt barred the Americans and several European citizens from leaving the country after authorities raided the Cairo offices of several foreign-funded non-governmental organizations in December. They included the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House.

The probe triggered threats from outraged U.S. lawmakers who threatened to cut off the $1.3 billion Egypt gets in U.S. military aid each year.

Hafez Abu Saada, a lawyer representing some of the 43 defendants, said the judicial authorities agreed to lift the travel ban on foreigners as long as each paid a roughly $332,000 bail.

“The case is still ongoing,” said Abu Saada, a human rights lawyer who represents three of the Egyptians from Freedom House charged in the case.

Negad el Borai, another lawyer who represents IRI and Freedom House, confirmed in a tweet that the travel ban will be lifted if the foreigners pay the bail amount.

The Associated Press first reported the travel ban would be lifted Wednesday night, citing unnamed Egyptian officials, but it was unclear whether it would actually happen.

A spokesman for the Egyptian general prosecutor’s office said Wednesday night that it was not up to them to lift the travel ban, distancing the office from the apparent decision to allow the foreigners to leave. The case began with investigative judges and the prosecution has no hand in the case, said spokesman Adel el Said on state television.

Phone calls to investigative Judge Ashraf Ashmawy, one of the judges overseeing the case, went unanswered on Wednesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration could not yet confirm a deal with Egyptian authorities.

“I would note that we have worked this issue very hard with our Egyptian counterparts,” Carney told reporters. “It has been a priority of the president to resolve this. And we have made clear throughout the process — Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Panetta and others — that we consider it a very serious matter and that it had the potential of affecting our relationship.”

Carney declined to comment further, saying he didn’t “want to get too far ahead of these reports until we have more details.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she was hopeful a resolution was near.

“We believe we will resolve this issue concerning our NGOs in the very near future,” Clinton said on Capitol Hill during testimony about the State Department's budget. “That is my best assessment sitting here today.”

An official at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo declined to comment.

On Tuesday a three-judge panel overseeing the case pulled out, saying they were “embarrassed,” in a memo to Cairo’s Court of Appeals. The court case is to be reassigned to another court.

The Egyptian government has accused the groups of working illegally in Egypt, taking illegal funds, doing illegal political work and sowing unrest in Egypt. Although none of the groups are officially licensed, they say they have worked to get registered and have denied the accusations of nefarious foreign funding.

By Leila Fadel, Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 9:55 PM
Staff writer Joby Warrick contributed to this report from Washington.
The Original article on Washington Post

In my opinion ( the site owner ) It was a political game from the beginning to hide their crimes .. the revolution will never stop until they leave

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mubarak trial could be the last for judge before retirement

Judicial resources at the Cairo Court of Appeal mentioned that Ahmed Refaat, the top of the North Cairo Criminal Court, may possibly not preside over any some other case after 2 June, the date set for the verdict in the case of ousted President Mubarak, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six of his deputies. The sources said that Refaat may retire on 30 June.

It is customary in the Court of Appeal to not refer any cases to a judge three months before his retirement, the sources said, adding that Refaat would announce if he is retiring during the same session as pronouncing the verdict.

The defendants are charged with involvement in the murder of pro-democracy activists during the January 2011 uprising that forced Mubarak to step down.

The session Wednesday heard the final comments of the defense.

Lawyers involved in the case said delivering the verdict a hundred days after closing arguments means that the judge has not formed an opinion on the case. The lawyers doubted that politics would affect the case.

A sigh of relief was voiced by the defendants, especially Alaa Mubarak, who feared the verdict would be announced in Wednesday’s session, according to well-informed sources.

Security sources said that Wednesday’s session was recorded since it included statements by Adly and Hassan Abdel Rahman, head of the now-defunct State Security, and that the recording was sent to security sources for review. These bodies also received a copy of a comment Mubarak wrote to the judge during the session.

El Masry Al youm

Aboul Fotouh attacked in an apparent carjacking

The prominent Egyptian presidential candidate was hit on the head in an apparent carjacking late Thursday in Cairo, his campaign manager told reporters

Presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Aboul Fotouh was attacked on Cairo's Ring road late on Thursday, on his way back from a campaign meeting in Kafr-El Cheikh by a number of armed men, who stole his car.

He was hit on his head by the attackers who also beat the driver of his rented Land cruiser, and will spend the night in hospital to undergo check-ups, Ahmad Ossama, a member of his presidential candidate campaign told ONTV.

'Aboul Fotouh may be suffering concussion in an apparent carjacking after he was hit on the head by the back a machine gun', his campaign manager Ali Bahnassawy told reporters

Aboul Fotouh, a former senior member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, is considered one of the popular candidates in the election, which is set to take place by the end of June.

Drivers complain of an increase in carjackings on Cairo's ring road.

Ahram English

Egypt News

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