Norway / Deep concern about verdicts against NGO employees in Egypt
OSLO, Norway, June 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “I am deeply concerned about the severe sentences handed down against local and international representatives of NGOs in Egypt, including one Norwegian,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
“The sentences and the trial show a very worrying trend for civil society in Egypt. Civil society is playing an essential role in the process of democratisation in Egypt,” said the Foreign Minister.
More than 40 NGO representatives were found guilty today, and received prison sentences of up to five years and fines for breaches of Egyptian law relating to NGOs. Like most of the other defendants, the Norwegian national was convicted in absentia.
Since former President Mubarak was removed from power, Norway has provided substantial support for the development of civil society in Egypt, and would like to strengthen cooperation between Norwegian and Egyptian NGOs.
“The sentences handed down today can make it more difficult to obtain sorely needed funding for the development of civil society in Egypt. This case illustrates once again how important it is for the Egyptian authorities to provide a secure and predictable framework for civil society, in accordance with international standards and Egypt's obligations,” concluded Mr Eide.