Court again post­pones trial of non­profit groups

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

CAIRO | A Cairo court Thurs­day de­layed once again the case of 16 Amer­i­cans and 27 other em­ploy­ees of non­profit groups ac­cused of fo­ment­ing un­rest in Egypt.

The case has plunged U.S.Egyp­tian re­la­tions to their low­est point in 30 years and has led to Amer­i­can threats to cut off $1.5 bil­lion in aid to Egypt.

The pres­sure was al­le­vi­ated some­what when Egypt al­lowed the Amer­i­can de­fen­dants to leave the coun­try af­ter post­ing nearly $5 mil­lion in bail.

But Egyp­tian of­fi­cials, who were sharply crit­i­cized for al­low­ing the Amer­i­cans to leave Egypt, have con­tin­ued to pur­sue the case.

Only one of the Amer­i­can de­fen­dants was in court dur­ing Thurs­day’s ses­sion, along with 14 of the 16 Egyp­tians charged in the case. Af­ter about 20 min­utes of pro­ce­dural mat­ters, the judge or­dered the prose­cu­tors to en­sure that all de­fen­dants at­tend the next hear­ing April 10 and ad­journed the trial.

Nine of the 16 Amer­i­cans were out­side Egypt when the case was re­ferred to court for trial and did not re­turn to the coun­try. Six more left last week when Egypt un­ex­pect­edly lifted a travel ban on all non-egyp­tian de­fen­dants.

One Amer­i­can, Robert Becker, opted to stay be­hind and was in court Thurs­day.

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