Egypt lifts travel ban on US pro-democracy workers

Egypt has lifted a travel ban on US pro-democracy activists, following the 29 February decision to adjourn the trial of 43 pro-democracy workers, which began in Cairo on 26 February.

The ban had prohibited the departure of the 43 activists – 16 of whom are US citizens – working for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which Egypt accuses of being unregistered and of receiving foreign funds illegally.

On 29 February, Egyptian authorities told Cairo international airport that the activists were free to leave at any time. Reuters reported that a US military plane subsequently arrived from Cyprus although it was not known when any of the activists would leave or if they would travel on commercial flights.

High-level negotiations are taking place between Egypt and America over the politically-charged case which has been linked to Washington’s warning that it would not issue its $1.3 billion funds in US aid to Egypt until the matter was resolved.

The other 27 pro-democracy activists facing charges include Egyptians, Serbs, Norwegians and Germans.