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Egypt to resume NGO trial soon

(Xinhua)

15:12, March 04, 2012

CAIRO, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Court of Appeal on Saturday decided to resume the trial of 43 NGO workers over illegal funding on March 8 as lawmakers questioned the decision to lift the travel ban on defendants.

The trial, chaired by Judge Makram Awad, will be held in South Cairo Criminal Court, said Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, chief of the Court of Appeal.

Egypt's North Cairo Criminal Court started the trial of 43 workers of domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations last Sunday.

Prosecutors accused the NGOs of working in Egypt without official licenses and receiving foreign funds illegally. Only 14 of the defendants attended the session. The court postponed the trial to April 26.

Egypt lifted the travel ban imposed on the 43 defendants on Wednesday, after the panel judges of the trial resigned on Tuesday.

Fifteen NGO defendants, including eight Americans, three Serbians, two Germans and one Norwegian and one Palestinian, flew out of Cairo on a special plane on Thursday, after each of them paid a bail of 200,000 Egyptian pounds (about 33,000 U.S. dollars).

However, the move raised intensive outcry among Egyptian lawmakers and judges, who doubted the independence of the country' s judiciary system.

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