House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) released the following joint statement today after the Cairo Criminal Court convicted 43 international NGO workers - including 17 Americans - on politically-motivated charges, and forced the closure and confiscation of funds of five well-respected international NGOs:
"We are deeply disappointed by today's verdict at the Cairo Criminal Court, which represents just the latest assault by the Egyptian government on civil society. The NGOs unjustly targeted by Egyptian authorities have a long and distinguished record of helping countries build democratic institutions, capable political parties, and robust civil societies. Elections alone do not make a nation democratic -- it is through building transparent institutions and processes that reflect the will of the people and protect the rights of all citizens that true democracies are sustained. Today's verdict does a great disservice to those who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the democratic gains of Egypt's popular revolution. It also highlights legitimate concerns that the Morsi government's proposed NGO law will erode fundamental democratic principles and restrict Egyptians' rights and ability to engage politically with each other and their leaders."