Lawyer: US nonprofits caught in Egypt aid dispute

A lawyer representing Americans facing trial over activities of their pro-democracy groups says they have been caught in a dispute between the US and Egypt over aid.

The groups are accused of operating without licenses and receiving illegal foreign funding. Top US officials have warned that US foreign aid to Egypt, more than US$1 billion a year, is in jeopardy over the case. Washington has insisted the 19 Americans facing trial did nothing wrong

Lawyer Tharwat Abdel-Shahed says Egypt's rulers objected to the funds for the groups being deducted from US aid to the government.

"This has sparked the government's anger," he said Tuesday, putting the total funding directed to the groups at $45 million.

Egypt's military rulers have accused the groups of funding and promoting anti-government protests.

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