American NGO workers sent to Egypt court

Feb. 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM

CAIRO, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- About 40 charity workers were referred to a criminal court in Egypt on charges of illegally funding a civil society organization, sources told Bikyamasr.com.

Among the defendants are 19 Americans, including Sam LaHood, the son of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The defendants, who include Europeans, Arabs and a number of Egyptians, are all non-governmental organization workers who got into trouble with Egyptian authorities for allegedly working for organizations that were not registered with the government.

Egypt earlier barred the Americans from leaving Egypt, creating a dispute between the United States and the newly formed government in Cairo, Bikyamasr.com said Sunday.

"We are urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately and allow folks to come home as soon as possible," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "Frankly, we don't know how this is going to come out yet."

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