Ashraf el Ashmawy and Sameh Abu-Zeid hold a press
in Cairo to
announce the results of their investigation into non-government
organizations operating in Egypt. Beyond the question of foreign funds
support the NGOs, the two highlighted maps discovered
in the offices of
the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, and
criminal trials of 43 foreigners, including 19 Americans.
El Akhbar, Egypt
'Maps' Cited in Arrest of Foreign NGO Workers - Including 19 Americans
Sameh Abu-Zeid confirmed
that through their investigation and inspection of the offices of human rights
NGOs, maps were found at the headquarters of the International Republican
Institute. Judge Abu-Zeid said that the maps divide
the governorates of Egypt into four regions. The first area is named 'Canal,'
the second 'Greater Cairo,' the third 'Delta' and the fourth 'Upper Egypt.'
el Ashmawy and Sameh Abu-Zeid, appointed by Justice Minister Adel Abdul Hamid to
look into the issue of foreign funding of non-governmental organizations, have
held a press conference to reveal the results of their investigation.
The judges offered some of
the facts surrounding their decision to forbid 43 defendants, including 19
Americans, from leaving the country, and to refer them to the Cairo Criminal
Court to face trial on charges of administering NGOs without the necessary
Abu-Zeid confirmed that through their investigation
and inspection of the offices of human rights NGOs, maps were found at the
headquarters of the International Republican Institute. Judge Abu-Zeid said that the maps divide the governorates of Egypt
into four regions. The first area is named “Canal,” the second “Greater Cairo,”
the third “Delta” and the fourth “Upper Egypt.”
said the maps are being reviewed by a committee of experts. He also noted that
polls conducted by the NGOs included questions that are peculiar for Egyptian
citizens,including some about their religion:
whether they are Christian or Muslim; what type of clothing they wear,
questions about the number of churches and even questions about where army
bases are located.
added that the inspection of NGO offices resulted in the seizure of many
documents that demonstrate the receipt of money from abroad.
According to Abu-Zeid, the investigation was triggered by a decision of
Egypt's Council of Ministers to form a commission to investigate foreign and
Egyptian entities operating in Egypt, and the Justice Minister was assigned to
appoint committee members beginning in July of 2011.
said that the committee had completed its work at the end of last September and
suggested several issues for judicial and criminal investigation. Activity that
violates Egyptian law was then investigated and disclosed by the commission.
Based on that, the Justice Minister
asked the Court of Appeal to delegate two judges to investigate these crimes. The
relevant witnesses were then questioned and asked to reveal the confidential
bank accounts of numerous organizations and people where evidence was deemed sufficient.
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