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Public Statements

Aid to Egypt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise today to speak to an amendment that would end aid to Egypt until they end the prosecution of our U.S. citizens. I offered this amendment earlier this spring when Egypt was detaining our citizens--these prodemocracy workers--and was not letting them leave the country. Since then, they have let them leave the country but sort of in an insulting fashion in the sense they have let them leave when we paid, basically, ransom. We had to pay about $5 million in ransom--$300,000 per person--to let these people leave Egypt.

So they came home, but Egypt still could only get its aid if the administration certified they were pro democracy. Within days, Secretary Clinton did release the aid and said they were achieving their democratic goals. I wrote a letter to Secretary Clinton asking her not to do this because the prosecutions still go on. These American citizens who were allowed to leave the country had to pay $300,000 in bail but they also had to sign a statement saying they were coming back for the trial.

Everybody said, well, I doubt they are ever going back to Egypt for these show trials. But it gets worse. It turns out in December of last year, President Obama signed an Executive order--this is Order No. 13524--that gives Interpol, the international police organization, immunity in our country. We also have an extradition treaty with Egypt, meaning if you are accused of a crime in Egypt, we can send you back.

The danger is whether these prodemocracy workers are safe in the United States. We have Interpol agents in the United States who now have immunity and we have an extradition treaty with Egypt. There are definitely problems with allowing this to go on. This is an indication to me that maybe Egypt is not pursuing democratic goals, and that certifying them as a democratic country is perhaps not in our best interest, and maybe sending nearly $2 billion of taxpayer money to Egypt, which continues to prosecute our citizens, is not a good idea.

Let me give an example of what Interpol is doing. Interpol recently took a Saudi journalist from Malaysia and sent him back to Saudi Arabia. Do you know what the crime was? He was accused of blasphemy. He was accused of the religious crime of apostasy. Do you know what the penalty in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy is? The death penalty. So we are now using an international police agency to go into a sovereign nation, where someone is accused of a religious crime and is sent back to a country where they can be put to death. This alarms me.

People say, oh, that could never happen in America. Well, right now, the President has allowed Interpol, through an Executive order, through the President's signature, to have diplomatic immunity in our country. For all I know, Interpol could be at this very moment looking for American citizens in this country and trying to get those people and extradite them to Egypt. This is a problem. This is why you don't want an international police force to operate within your sovereign Nation. There can be cooperation, but you don't want impunity and immunity for an international police force within your borders.

So I will introduce again an amendment to this bill and this amendment will say no aid to Egypt until they end this prosecution; no aid to Egypt until they end these red letter warrants they have asked for on U.S. citizens to be extradited to Egypt. We can't allow U.S. citizens to be sent to a foreign country to be tried in that country where blasphemy is a crime. Those are not American values, those are not American ways, and we cannot allow U.S. citizens to be subject to foreign laws and foreign crimes.

I will ask today for a vote on an amendment that will end Egyptian aid or at least delay Egyptian foreign aid until they relinquish this prosecution of our citizens.

Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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