The United States is deeply concerned by the guilty verdicts and sentences, including the suspended sentences, handed down by an Egyptian court today against 43 NGO representatives in what was a politically-motivated trial. This decision runs contrary to the universal principle of freedom of association and is incompatible with the transition to democracy. Moreover, the decision to close these organizations' offices and seize their assets contradicts the Government of Egypt's commitments to support the role of civil society as a fundamental actor in a democracy and contributor to development, especially at this critical stage in the Egyptian people's democratic transition. Civic groups and international NGOs play a legitimate role in any democracy and are critical to advancing freedoms, supporting universal human rights, giving voice to citizens' views, and acting as appropriate checks on the government. I urge the Government of Egypt to work with civic groups as they respond to the Egyptian people's aspirations for democracy as guaranteed in Egypt's new constitution.