U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son is among 43 people charged in Egypt after a probe into foreign funding of non-governmental organizations. Sam LaHood, who works for the International Republican Institute, and Julie Hughes, the Egypt country director for the National Democratic Institute, another Washington-based group, are among those who face prosecution, Judge Ashraf el-Ashmawy told reporters in Cairo today. The inquiry into the NGOs, whose stated aim is to promote democracy, has added to strains between the U.S. and Egypt and jeopardized American financial aid to the Egyptian military, a close ally. The U.S. State Department said yesterday that it wants Egypt’s government to clarify reports that 19 Americans are among 43 people to be prosecuted. Those referred to trial are accused of “accepting funds and benefits from an international organization” to pursue an activity “prohibited by law,” according to a statement read by el-Ashmawy. They are also accused of carrying out “political training programs,” supporting election campaigns and providing financing illegally to individuals and groups, he said. Egyptian authorities have prevented Americans working for U.S.-funded NGOs, including LaHood, from leaving the country pending a decision on whether to prosecute them for not registering with the government. Several of… Read full this story
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