LaHood and others to be charged in Egyptian trial

By WEEK Producer

February 6, 2012 Updated Feb 7, 2012 at 12:30 PM CDT

The Egyptian Government today said that Peoria native Sam LaHood would face charges in Egypt charged "with spending money from organizations that were operating in Egypt without a license".

Sam LaHood is the head of the National Republican Institute in Cairo.

He, the head of the National Democratic Institute, and 40 others are to face charges in court.

The head of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, Nasser Amin, called the charges "an inexcusable procedure that was violent towards the organizations who advocate democracy" - unquote.

The possibility of putting 19 Americans on trial in Egypt is now becoming a political issue.

The U.S. Government is threatening to withhold some of the roughly $1.5 billion in aid earmarked for Egypt this year.

And Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich compared the Egyptian situation to the Iranian Hostage Crisis during the Carter administration.

"And it just made me think, this reminds me of Jimmy Carter and the Iranian hostages. Now, I have the Obama hostage crisis that resembles the Carter hostage crisis. And your point about take back the 1.3 billion? Look, I'll do more than that," said GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

And, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin today called the possibility of a trail "an outrage," saying Egypt has no case against the workers, and pursuing the matter further will put its relationship with the United States on the line.

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