Egypt trial on US democracy activists set for Feb. 26

CAIRO - An Egyptian court will start the trial on Feb. 26 of activists from mostly American civil society groups accused of working illegally in Egypt, in a case which has strained US-Egyptian ties.
A judicial source told Reuters that the 43 accused, including around 20 Americans, would go on trial next Sunday, charged with working in the country without proper legal registration.
The state new agency MENA said the hearing would take place at North Cairo Criminal Court.
Investigators swooped down on the offices of civil society groups on Dec. 29, confiscating computers and other equipment and seizing cash and documents.
The American defendants have been banned from leaving Egypt and some have taken refuge in the US embassy. Among those accused is Sam LaHood, Egypt director of the International Republican Institute and the son of the US transportation secretary.
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