Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today issued the following statement on the verdict handed down by a Cairo court to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and members of its staff in Egypt:
We are outraged and highly disturbed by the harsh sentences imposed on employees of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Cairo and the order to close its offices.
The Egyptian judiciary’s actions give cause for concern. Civil society, a vital pillar of democracy in a newly democratic Egypt, is weakened by these measures.
We will support the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in its efforts to have these verdicts repealed. German political foundations in Egypt are doing excellent work. In a period of great historic significance for Egypt, they are helping to foster the stabilization of democratic structures, the rule of law, pluralism and the dialogue among cultures in an exemplary manner.
In today’s verdict a prison term of five years as well as a fine was handed down to the former head of the Cairo office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Another employee was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and a fine. Moreover, the court ordered the closure of the foundation’s offices and confiscation of documents already seized. In its reasons the court argued that the foundation had been supporting unauthorized non-governmental organizations. The verdict can be appealed against in the Court of Cassation.