Egypt acquits 43 NGO workers on illegal funding charges

December 20, 2018 - 5:25 am

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has acquitted 43 people, including German and U.S. nationals, of charges they illegally received funding for their local and foreign non-governmental groups.

Thursday's verdict ended a seven-year legal battle that rattled civil society groups just months after a 2011 uprising forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down after 29 years in power.

A lower court convicted the 43 in 2013. The Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appeals court, threw out that verdict and ordered a fresh trial, which culminated in Thursday's ruling. None of the 43 spent time in jail. The only three who received prison terms — up to three years — were tried in absentia.

Egypt's military had claimed that protests against its direct rule between February 2011 and June 2012 were funded by foreigners.

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