K.S. Rajan (28 Jan 2012)
"U.S. outrage as Egypt bars Americans from leaving"


 
 
U.S. outrage as Egypt bars Americans from leaving
 
By Patrick Werr and Tom Perry
CAIRO | Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:29pm EST
 
U.S. outrage as Egypt bars Americans from leaving
Among those hit by travel bans - one of those targeted called it "de facto detention" - is a son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as other foreign staffers of the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, officials at the two organizations said.
US outrage as Egypt bars Americans from leaving
The United States said Egypt should reverse them: "We are urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately and allow these folks to come home as soon as possible," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
"We are trying to get them free to travel as soon as possible, and we're hopeful that we can resolve this in coming days," she said.
A month after police raided the Cairo offices of the IRI, NDI and eight other non-governmental organizations, it raises the stakes for Washington, which had already indicated it may review the $1.3 billion it gives the Egyptian military each year if the probe into alleged breaches of local regulations went on.
Some see it as a poor omen for Egypt's fledgling democracy following last year's overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
John McCain, the leading Republican senator who chairs the IRI, voiced "alarm and outrage" at a "new and disturbing turn" which included a travel ban on Sam LaHood, the group's Egypt director.
The younger LaHood said he was stopped at Cairo airport on Saturday and prevented from boarding a flight out.
McCain, in a statement referring to Egypt's ruling military council, said: "I call on the Egyptian government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to cease the harassment and unwarranted investigations of American NGOs operating in Egypt. "This crisis has escalated to the point that it now endangers the lives of American citizens and could set back the long-standing partnership between the United States and Egypt." source - Reuters