April 20th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Timing of Egypt's arrest request questioned

By Libby Lewis

Egyptian officials have filed global arrest notices with Interpol for some of the Americans charged for overstepping in their pro-democracy work in Egypt, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

(Listen to a radio version of Libby Lewis' report here)

Officially, nobody's talking about this politically sensitive topic - that goes for the U.S. government, the Egyptian government, and Interpol.

But some are questioning the timing of the notices, issued just after the Obama administration agreed to restart more than $1 billion in aid to Egypt, over objections from members of Congress angered that the Egyptians had pursued a case against the workers for non-governmental organizations.

"I find the case a shocking example of how Interpol is open to abuse by countries which are seeking to prosecute - not sex traffickers or drug dealers - but people campaigning for democratic reform," said Jago Russell of Fair Trials International, a human rights group. He noted that such action "was not the desired intention of Interpol," but added that "the lack of safeguards in the way Interpol works means it's happening in practice."

In this case, Egypt used informal arrest notices, called diffusions, rather formal Red Notices. Both have the same effect: They allow police around the world to arrest those named as fugitives and send them back to Egypt.

Complicating the situation is the fact that the United States has an extradition treaty with Egypt. It can't simply ignore Interpol notices from Egypt the way it could with notices from, for example, Iran.

The U.S. State Department would not comment on Egypt's use of Interpol to go after the Americans, but State Department spokesman Mark Toner responded to a question about it at an April 5 briefing, saying: "We're making this message very clear in every available forum, that we believe these charges are politically motivated and without any legal merit."

Washington translation: There's likely a lot of backdoor diplomacy going on, with Interpol as well as with Egypt.

There's one more ingredient to add to this quintessential Washington mix: It's an election year. This week, budget hawk Sen. Rand Paul urged President Barak Obama to delay sending the aid to Egypt.

Paul wrote: "Why would a country that is pursuing the politically motivated prosecution of American citizens be eligible for a dime of U.S. foreign aid, never mind the $2 billion in taxpayer dollars about to be sent?"

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Maddisona Bernadettes

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    July 13, 2012 at 2:12 am | Reply
  2. offshore letter

    Nice Post

    May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  3. AMR AZIM

    I am responding to the quote in the article:
    Paul wrote: "Why would a country that is pursuing the politically motivated prosecution of American citizens be eligible for a dime of U.S. foreign aid, never mind the $2 billion in taxpayer dollars about to be sent?"

    How would Paul feel and the rest of Americans – a group of Foreigners come in the USA, set up shop and promote rules on the country? I do not think that will be tolerated in the United States of America.

    The group of Americans who went to Egypt – basically to destruct the Revolution and make Egypt more puppet of the West.

    Mr.Paul THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN THE NEW EGYPT. THE GREATNESS OF EGYPT WILL COME BACK AGAIN – WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM THE WEST. AND EGYPT WILL BECOME A SUPERPOWER!

    April 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  4. Rabbi

    What stupid Americans seem not to understand, is that Jews are chosen people.

    We will reap the rewards of our faithful service to Yahweh.

    The goyim of this world should be happy to fight over the scraps that we Jews throw from table.

    Israel will reign supreme over earth, and anybody challenging that assertion will be conquered, with the help of US military.

    You people may not like us Jews, but you WILL learn to fear us.

    If a few of you must die to save a few of us....that's a bargain I can live with. Your own nations agree with me on this.

    Long may Israel reign.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • AMR AZIM

      WITH THE EXISTENCE OF EGYPT- ISREAL WILL NEVER REIGN SUPREME.

      AND WHEN YOU RABBI WILL GET IT, THAT GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE – JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS.
      AND ISLAM IS THE SEAL OF ALL RELIGIONS!!

      AND WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE USA – ISRAEL WILL CRUMBLE LIKE A PIECE OF COOKIE.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • AMR AZIM

      One more thing – THE PEOPLE OF THE MIDDLE-EAST DO NOT FEAR THE JEWS ONE BIT. AFTER ALL THE ARABS AND THE JEWS ARE COUSINS.......AND WE WILL ALWAYS BE COUSINS......

      April 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
    • AMR AZIM

      FINALLY, I LOVE ALL JEWS!

      April 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  5. Flash

    The extradition treaty between the US and Egypt does not require either country to hand over its own citizens to the other. The Americans only will be at risk of getting caught if they leave US soil.

    April 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  6. shivadass

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    April 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  7. THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THE SPINNING WHEEL

    IS TO REMOVE THE HEAVY FOOT . if the walk and talk of the clobberhood gang is not confronted , the suez , sinai , gaza , will become a front for terror through a proxy influence of iran .

    I do not know any other pres this would have happened to, this is now the third time I have said in the last two months.
    obama folks has lost respect on the world stage .

    April 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply

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