Last year, Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to present an amendment that would cut off the $1.3 billion given to Egypt annually in foreign aid until the illegally detained American citizens, all whom are non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, were released. As the Senate debated withholding foreign aid, the Egyptian government decided to lift the travel ban, allowing the NGO workers to leave the country.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Egyptian court convicted 27 of these NGO employees to five years in prison, five employees to two years in prison, and 11 were given one-year prison sentences. If the travel ban had not been lifted, these American citizens would currently have to serve foreign prison sentences.
"If we had not threatened to cut off the $1.3 billion the United States sends in foreign aid, Egypt's government would not have lifted the travel ban and these Americans would be in prison," Sen. Paul said. "US citizens who've committed no real crime shouldn't be treated in this manner, especially as we continue to send that country billions of American taxpayer dollars. Not one more cent to Egypt. Not one more penny to countries that convict Americans of bogus crimes - not today, not tomorrow, not ever."