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American NGO Workers Leave Egypt American NGO Workers Leave Egypt

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Defense / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

American NGO Workers Leave Egypt

photo of Sara Sorcher
March 1, 2012

The American civil society workers barred from leaving Egypt have departed the country, a State Department official said on Thursday.

Egyptian officials said on Wednesday they would lift the travel ban on seven American personnel from prominent Washington-based groups like the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute also sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill. Fourty-three civil society workers-- including 16 Americans-- were charged with illegally accepting foreign funds and stirring unrest. The planned prosecution set off a diplomatic crisis and put the virtually sacrosanct package of U.S. military aid to Cairo at risk for the first time in three decades.

Egyptian officials told the Associated Press the Americans posted nearly $5 million in bail as part of the deal to win their release. A plane had been ready at the airport to take the Americans, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, out of the country.

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