Egyptian Authorities Raid NGO Offices

The Cairo offices of 17 U.S.-based NGOs and local organizations receiving foreign funding were raided today. The raids, conducted by armed soldiers, came after a vow by Egypt’s military to “investigate how pro-democracy and human rights organizations are funded.” The governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has often declared that it “will not tolerate foreign interference in the country’s affairs.”  Amongst the offices raided were those of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Arab Center for the Independence of Justice, the Konrad Adenauer-Stifung, Freedom House, and the Egyptian Public Budget Observatory. The raid was predicated on evidence that authorities claim “show[s] violation of Egyptian laws, including not having permits.”

Documents and laptops were seized, and staff members in the buildings raided were reportedly denied the right to leave or make phone calls while the searches took place. In addition to the various statements made by organizations’ leaders condemning the raids, the U.S. Department of State commented that it was “deeply concerned” by today’s events and called on Egypt’s government to “immediately end the harassment of NGOs [and] NGO staff, return all property, and resolve this issue immediately.”