In advance of the April 10 trial of pro-democracy activists in Egypt, two Republicans are urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to halt funding to Cairo and state that the country doesn’t meet aid requirements.
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann sent Clinton the request today.
“A decision to waive the conditions on military aid would send the wrong message to the Egyptian government that U.S. taxpayers will subsidize the Egyptian military while it continues to oversee the crackdown on civil society and to commit human rights abuses,” they wrote. “No credible assessment of the situation in Egypt can conclude that the Egyptian government is ‘implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.'”
Staff of the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute and Freedom House, among other foreign NGOs are set to be tried for advocating democracy, and investigations into about 400 local NGOs are under way.
“We strongly recommend that you delay any decision on certification until domestic and foreign NGOs are allowed to operate freely in Egypt, laws prohibiting the NGOs from operating in Egypt are repealed, the case against Egyptian and international NGOs has been favorably resolved, property seized from the NGOs and their staff is returned, the United States Government is repaid all bail posted to secure the release of NGO staff, and the Egyptian government begins to respect the fundamental rights of its citizens and due process of law,” Bachmann and Paul told Clinton.
Despite the legal proceedings against 19 Americans and 24 other foreign NGO workers, the FY 2013 State and Foreign Operations Budget still includes $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt and $250 million in other assistance.