U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on this morning's verdict in Egypt regarding the trail of American non-governmental organizations (NGO). An Egyptian court convicted 43 NGO workers, including 16 Americans, and shut down the offices and seized the assets of three U.S. NGO's -- the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House - assisting Egyptians in their pursuit of freedom and democratic governance. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Today's verdict by the Egyptian court is appalling and is a wholly politically motivated decision that has no roots in the rule of law. Today's decision shows that under Morsi, the regime in Egypt is even more hostile to democracy and human rights, as is clearly evident by his latest draft NGO law that would effectively give his regime the power to restrict, and even cut off funding for independent NGOs operating in Egypt.
"This is yet another in a long line of incidents that should give the United States cause to reevaluate our assistance to Egypt. If we continue to send Egypt money from hardworking U.S. taxpayers, even as our own citizens are prosecuted, we send a message to Morsi that we find his regime's behavior acceptable. That is not what the United States stands for -- we must continue to push for freedoms and democratic reforms in Egypt, but we can no longer allow American dollars to go to the Morsi regime unconditionally."
Note: Chairman Ros-Lehtinen has introduced H.R. 416 -- The Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act, which conditions U.S. aid to Egypt upon certification that Egypt is not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, transitions to a free-market democratic government, adopts and implements legal reforms that protect the rights of all citizens, fully implements the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and destroys the smuggling network between Egypt and Gaza.