Monday, April 23, 2012

Egypt Bans Eight American NGOs

Egypt has rejected applications by eight American nongovernmental organizations to operate in the country, including an election-monitoring group led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Egyptian state news agency MENA said Monday the country's Social Affairs Ministry denied licenses to the American civil society organizations because their activities violate Egyptian sovereignty. The news agency said the eight blacklisted groups include the Carter Center, Coptic Orphans and Seeds of Peace. The names of the other five organizations could not be confirmed.

Egyptian authorities raided the offices of several American pro-democracy groups and other NGOs last year, and filed criminal charges against 16 American activists on suspicion of using illegally obtained funds to undermine Egypt's stability.

The crackdown triggered a major diplomatic dispute, with Washington threatening to withdraw $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo for imposing a travel ban on the American activists. An Egyptian judge lifted the ban last month, allowing the Americans to leave the country and avoid possible imprisonment.