/ 26 February 2012

Clinton weighs response to Egypt activist trial

The United States is evaluating the outcome of legal proceedings in Egypt, where 16 Americans are among dozens of democracy activists being put on trial, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.

The case has strained ties between Egypt and Washington and threatened $1.3-billion in annual US military aid.

“We are evaluating the outcomes of the legal proceeding today. We’ll have more to say after we have finished that analysis and gathered as much information as possible,” she told reporters on a visit to the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

“This is a fluid situation and there are a lot of moving parts that we have to fully understand before I go any further than I have.”

An Egyptian court earlier on Sunday adjourned the trial of the activists in the opening session of the case.

Forty-three foreign and Egyptian non-profit workers, including the son of the US transportation secretary, are accused of receiving illegal funds from abroad and carrying out political activities unrelated to their civil society work.

Those accused in the case were banned from leaving Egypt pending the trial and some of the US citizens targeted in the probe have taken refuge at their embassy in Cairo.

The US pro-democracy groups whose staff have been charged deny they have done anything illegal. — Reuters