Senior US lawmaker blocks aid for Egyptian military

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U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy wraps up a talk to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington April 29, 2014.
US senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he would not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a "sham trial" in which a court sentenced 683 people to death.
Democrat Leahy chairs the Senate subcommittee overseeing foreign aid. He said Tuesday he is not prepared to sign off on aid to Egypt until the U.S. sees convincing evidence that its government is committed to the rule of law.
 
Leahy said he is extremely disturbed by what he says is the Egyptian government\’s flouting of human rights and appalling abuse of the justice system.
 
The Obama administration is relaxing a ban on military aid to Egypt imposed after the violence that came when the army toppled Morsi last July. The U.S. was planning to send Egypt $650 million in military aid and 10 Apache helicopters.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in Washington Tuesday, saying Egypt is going through a "very difficult transitional process."
 
He called the country\’s new constitution a positive step, but said the death sentences for the Muslim Brotherhood members are disturbing.
 
Fahmy said Egypt is building a democracy based on the rule of law. He said he is confident the legal system allows due process.
Source: Agencies

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