Lead judge says court felt “uneasiness” as Washington exerts pressure on Cairo over case involving 16 US citizens.
All three judges in Egypt’s trial of 43 NGO workers have pulled out of the case, according to a court official.
The defendants, including 16 US citizens, are charged with using illegal foreign funds to foment unrest that has roiled Egypt over the past year.
The non-governmental organisations flatly deny the charges, and US officials have hinted foreign aid to Egypt could be in jeopardy because of the case.
Mohammed Shoukry, the lead judge in the case, said on Tuesday that “the court felt uneasiness” in handling the case, according to a court official. He did not elaborate.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said new judges would be assigned to the case.
The trial has so far only made it as far as its opening session, and would need to be restarted with a new panel of judges.
Combined with indications that the two countries are trying to find an acceptable resolution to the crisis, there is speculation that the case could be dropped.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, told two senate panels on Tuesday that the US and Egypt, which has long been
An Egyptian court adjourned the trial of dozens of democracy activists including 16 Americans on Sunday at the opening session of a case that has threatened ties between Cairo and Washington and $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.
Forty-three foreign and Egyptian non-profit workers – including the son of the U.S. transportation secretary – are accused of receiving illegal funds from abroad and carrying out political activities unrelated to their civil society work.
Judge Mahmud Mohamed Shukry adjourned the trial until April 26 at the end of the session in the rowdy chamber, where television reporters crowded around him and an interior ministry official threatened to expel journalists.
His decision could give more time for a diplomatic solution to the case, lawyers said.
By Aya Batrawy
CAIRO: One of Egypt’s top presidential hopefuls demanded police protection Friday after masked men stopped his car on the way back from a campaign event, beat him with the butt of an automatic rifle and stole his vehicle – an attack that many of his supporters fear may have been deliberate.
A lawmaker from the country’s most powerful political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, also was wounded in a hit-and-run Friday.
The two incidents demonstrate the disintegration of security in the country in the wake of the uprising a year ago that toppled Hosni Mubarak. As the country prepares for presidential elections expected to be held by the end of June, they also raise the spectre of politically-motivated violence as the campaign heats up.
Masked gunmen attacked Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh late Thursday as he was returning to Cairo from a campaign event north of the capital, said campaign spokesman Ali Bahnasawy. Abolfotoh is a former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood who is running independently for president.
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