Egypt Willing to Lose $1.5 Billion in U.S. Aid to Prosecute Americans

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The Egyptian prime minister says the government's going ahead with prosecutions against American and other foreign and local NGO workers, despite threats from the U.S. government that it stands to lose $1.3 billion in annual military aid and $250 million in economic aid from the United States. A travel ban on the 43 activists -- whose ranks include 19 Americans, one of whom is Sam Lahood, the son of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood -- will stay in place regardless of U.S. threats to withhold aid, Reuters reports. And prime minister Kamal Ganzouri said on Wednesday the prosecution would have to take its course, and could not be swayed "because of aid or other reasons," according to the BBC. A judge in the case already said the non-governmental organizations operated without proper licenses and tried to sway politics within the country, which is illegal, the BBC reports. But some anonymous officials told Reuters the government would eventually back down and release the Americans rather than risk U.S. aid. After all, $1.55 billion a year is a pretty large carrot.

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