Egypt court orders re-trial of NGO foreign funding case

In this file photo, Egyptian security forces stand guard outside a court in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 05 April 2018
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Egypt court orders re-trial of NGO foreign funding case

  • Many of the NGO workers, including at least 15 Americans, left the country and received five-year sentences in absentia.
  • Those remaining received one and two-year jail sentences.
Cairo: Egypt’s top appeal court overturned the jail sentences of 16 NGO workers and ordered their re-trial in a case that has been a point of tension in US-Egypt relations, state news agency MENA reported on Thursday.
In 2013 an Egyptian court sentenced 43 Americans, Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs to jail terms ranging from one to five years and ordered their non-governmental organizations (NGO) closed, following their conviction on charges including operating without necessary approvals.
Many of the defendants, including at least 15 Americans, left the country and received five-year sentences in absentia, with those remaining receiving one and two-year jail sentences.
The groups are associated with democracy promotion and include the US-based International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Freedom House.
The 16 defendants had been charged with operating without necessary approvals and receiving funds from abroad illegally, but some jail sentences were previously suspended as the case was the subject of appeal.
Following Thursday’s ruling by the Court of Cassation, the defendants will now have their case re-tried by a Cairo criminal court, MENA reported.
Egyptian rights activists say they are facing the worst assault in their history since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi came to power in 2014 amid a campaign to erase the freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The case, as well as a law restricting NGO activity that has yet to be ratified by El-Sisi, has strained Egypt-US relations, with the United States last year withholding about $100 million in aid and saying it would delay a further $200 million over concerns tied to human rights.


Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

Updated 26 May 2019
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Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

  • Former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were referred to the Supreme Court
  • Five other former ministers were also referred

ALGIERS: An Algerian prosecutor investigating graft allegations has referred two former prime ministers and five former ministers to the supreme court, Ennahar TV reported on Sunday citing a statement from the prosecution.
Mass protests have broken out in Algeria demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt. The seven politicians will be investigated by the court over alleged corruption cases, Ennahar said, without providing details.
They include former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who resigned on April 2 after coming under pressure from protesters and the army.
The list of the former ministers, who are under investigation, includes Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi and Abdessalam Bouchouareb.
They were in charge of the sectors of trade, transport, public works, finance and industry respectively.
Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The army is now the most powerful institution after the departure of Bouteflika, who had ruled the North African country since 1999.
Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to appease the protests that started on Feb.22.
Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge over "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority."
At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.
Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.