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Americans face prosecution as Egypt ignores Clinton, Congress

Egypt is bringing criminal charges against at least 40 people, including some Americans, in a move that puts $1.3 billion in US military aid to Egypt at risk.

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Egyptian police raid a non-governmental organization office in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 29, 2011. The Egyptian government is bringing criminal charges against at least 40 people, including some Americans, in a move against some non-governmental organizations operating in the country.

Mohammed Asad/AP/File

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Egypt is bringing criminal charges against at least 40 people, including some American citizens, over the foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations, sharply raising the stakes in a standoff with the US that has put $1.3 billion in US military aid to Egypt at risk.

The workers at pro-democracy organizations are being charged with operating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) without licenses from the government and illegally receiving foreign funding, according to state media. The charges carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. The Associated Press reported that 19 Americans would be charged, while a state-owned newspaper said six.

The decision to move forward with prosecutions comes just a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Egypt’s foreign minister that Egypt’s crackdown on NGOs could affect US aid to Egypt. The US gives Egypt about $1.5 billion in aid every year, of which about $1.3 billion is military aid. Congress recently imposed conditions on the military aid, requiring the secretary of state to certify that the Egyptian government is supporting a transition to civilian government for the aid to go forward. US officials have said that if Egypt continues the crackdown, those conditions could not be met.

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