Sunday, February 26, 2012

Update: Trial of 43 Defendants in Cairo Begins

As a follow-up to my posting yesterday (February 25), the trial of some 43 defendants made up of democracy advocates comprised of Americans, Germans, Egyptians, Norwegians and Serbs began earlier today (February 26), although only fourteen of those charged actually appeared in court. Those that did, all denied they had committed any crimes.

A prosecutor in the court in a Cairo suburb read out the charges against the defendants, saying their acceptance of illicit foreign funds had "detracted from the sovereignty of the Egyptian state."

Most of the remaining American defendants continue to reside at the US Embassy compound, although nine of them were able to get out of Egypt before their departure was banned.

COMMENT: Even though the Obama Administration has pulled out the "stops" and directed senior officials to reach out to their Egyptian government counterparts to quash the trial, it is clear the Egyptians were speaking from both sides of their mouths when they spoke with such officials.

To be kind, Egyptian officials who spoke with their American counterparts, were simply being polite. As with many things in life, "don't listen to what people say, but rather what they actually do."

Regrettably, President Obama is being far less consistent than Egyptian rulers are. The fact that President Obama has asked so many US leaders to attempt to make the trial go away, politically, is to ask them to politicize their own judiciary.

If the US Government had any fortitude at all, it would simply notify the Government of Egypt through a Diplomatic Note that the US$1+ billion aid package appropriated for Egypt is being permanently suspended unless the charges against all 43 defendants are dropped.

As we have seen in far too many cases (i.e., Iran, Syria, Iraq, etc.), Middle Eastern countries respect two traits: Consistency and Strength. President Obama, unfortunately, has displayed neither.

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