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Egypt government denies crackdown on NGOs

The Egyptian government on Sunday denied cracking down on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are advocating democracy in Egypt. The government's response came amid accusations [Reuters report] by various human rights groups that Egypt was trying to silence the military council's vocal opposition. Allegations against the Egyptian government for their treatment of the opposition came after Egypt raided the offices of 17 different NGOs last week. Authorities state that the raid was part of an investigation of illegal political funding activities. The US expressed that they may reconsider the $1.3 billion in military aid given to Egypt annually if the raids against NGOs do not stop. Responding to criticism, the Egyptian government on Friday agreed to cease its crackdowns [JURIST report] on NGOs that advocate for democracy in Egypt, according to the US Department of State (DOS) [official website]. Egyptian officials assured the US [BBC report] that it would return all property and assets seized in the raids to the NGOs.

Despite Egypt's assurances the US said that the raids on NGOs did not positively reflect the Egyptian government's commitment to democracy. The raids resulted from concerns by the Egyptian government over how the pro-democracy NGOs were funded. Egypt's military proclaimed that it would not tolerate foreign interference [Reuters report] in the nation's affairs. The US hinted that the raids may induce increased scrutiny over the $1.3 billion in military aid that the US sends to Egypt annually. Egyptian crackdowns against protesters have drawn significant criticism recently. On Thursday, Egyptian prosecutors and police raided the offices of 17 pro-democracy groups. Two weeks ago, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [JURIST report] a brutal suppression of protesters that led to 11 deaths and over 500 injuries.

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