Speaking today before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, top International Republican Institute (IRI) leader Lorne Craner warned that the 19 members of her organization and other government-funded NGOs charged in Egypt could face prison time.
The 19 Americans are charged with working with groups not licensed to operate or not licensed to receive foreign funding. They were largely members of the IRI, or its Democratic Party counterpart, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Egypt’s military junta has defended the charges, saying they were required under the current laws. US officials, particularly IRI Chairman Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) have threatened to see all aid to Egypt revoked over the charges.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has also said it is backing the junta on this matter, saying it opposes the US attempts to interfere in the judiciary’s case. Recent polls have shown a strong majority of Egyptians oppose receiving continued US aid.