IRI Statement on Ruling of Egyptian Court in Case Against Democracy Workers

June 7, 2013, 1:46 p.m.

Originally posted on IRI.org on June 4, 2013.

Washington, DC – “Today the Cairo Criminal Court convicted 43 international and local staff of IRI, the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, the International Center for Journalists and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for operating offices without licenses and using foreign funds.  While the court has not yet issued the written basis for its verdicts, penalties ranged from suspended sentences and fines for Egyptian staff to five years imprisonment for international staff.  The court also ordered the closure of the organizations’ offices in Egypt and seizure of their assets.

“As IRI has said since this assault against international and Egyptian nongovernmental organizations began more than a year ago, this was not a ‘legitimate judicial process’ as claimed by Egyptian officials.  This was a politically motivated effort to squash Egypt’s growing civil society, orchestrated through the courts, in part by Mubarak-era hold overs.  IRI will pursue all avenues to challenge today’s verdict. “Today’s ruling will have a chilling effect on Egyptian civil society and, taken with other recent developments, raises serious questions about Egypt’s commitment to the democratic transition that so many people demanded when they took to the streets in early 2011.”

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