NGO funding trial postponed until June

The Cairo Criminal Court on Thursday postponed the trial of NGO workers accused of operating without a permit and accepting illegal foreign funding until 5 June.

43 workers at five NGOs are charged in the case, including 19 American citizens.

The trial was adjourned following a request from defense lawyers to check the material evidence obtained by the court during Wednesday's session, including laptops, CDs, projectors, maps, graphs, safes and documents confiscated when Egyptian security forces raided the offices of those organizations late last year.

The lawyers also requested copies of the operation applications submitted by the organizations.

Plaintiffs backed the prosecutor’s call for the severest punishment for the defendants.

The security raids were part of investigations by Egyptian authorities into the foreign funding allegedly received by those organizations. The crackdown caused deterioration in Egypt’s relations with the US, which threatened to halt its annual military aid to Egypt.

A later decision by Egyptian authorities to allow the foreign defendants to leave the country stirred a public uproar against the government and the ruling military council, and aroused doubts about the independence of the judiciary.

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