Egypt Sentences Foreign NGO Workers

Forty-three NGO workers, including at least 16 Americans, were convicted in an Egyptian criminal court of operating without a license and receiving illegal foreign funding, which the government has claimed they used to instigate unrest in the newly democratic country. The judge handed out sentences between one and five years for charges—holdovers from Mubarak’s regime—related to a 2011 raid of the offices of 17 human-rights and pro-democracy organizations. One of the Americans who received a five-year sentence in absentia is Sam LaHood, son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; he had left the country earlier this year. The convictions further escalate tensions between Egypt and the U.S., which provides the North African country with more than $1.5 billion in aid annually.