Egypt set bail for seven detained American NGO workers, allowing them to slip out the country and save itself that $1.55 billion in aid the U.S. was threatening to cut. Rather than formally drop the charges and admit that maybe it wasn't in their best interest to arrest them, Egypt set bail and let them go. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. ponied $300,000 for each of the seven, among them, Sam Lahood, the son of Transport Secretary Ray Lahood.
The seven Americans, and another nine who already fled Egypt earlier this week, were charged with running a pair of nonprofits in the country that officials suspected were undermining the Egyptian government, under laws dating back to Mubarak's regime. (Raid pictured above.) Freed on bail today, the seven hurried their way to Cairo's airport before the government changed its mind. The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls parliament, didn't like the decision, reports The New York Times, even though judges and prosecutors were wavering on whether or not to move forward with the cases:
Bail was posted as part of the deal allowing the Americans to leave the country, and they pledged to return for their trial. The lifting of the ban does not resolve charges against the nonprofit groups or their roughly dozen Egyptian employees, nor does it erase the fear among the many advocacy groups that have come under the same investigation.
But we don't exactly expect the U.S. to go extraditing its citizens for running NGOs anytime soon. Unfortunately for those arrested NGO workers native to Egypt, it doesn't look like the U.S. will be bailing them out, too.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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