Filed Under:

In Egypt: Charges, Trial Could Be Next, Says Sam LaHood

Play associated audio

While he says it is "patently false" for anyone to say that the International Republican Institute offices he directs are in any way behind the anti-government protests in Egypt, American Sam LaHood told All Things Considered host Melissa Block this afternoon that he's been warned by the organization's attorney that he and others may soon be charged and brought to trial by authorities there.

The lawyer's analogy, LaHood said, is that "we are being held hostage and there's a negoitation going on in his opinion between our governments ... and nobody wants the hostage to die, but sometimes mistakes are made."

(The lawyer, LaHood added, was being funny — not implying that the death penalty would be imposed.)

"If we are referred to trial," LaHood continued. "The trial could last up to a year ... and the potential penalty is six months to five years in jail."

As we reported Thursday, LaHood was one of several Americans prevented from leaving Egypt last weekend. All of them work for the IRI, a U.S.-government sponsored organization that observes elections, educates voters and provides "technical assistance," LaHood said, to political parties. The IRI and more than dozen other foreign organizations were raided by authorities in late December. His group still can't return to its offices and its computers, files and money have not been returned, LaHood says.

The State Department has protested both the raid of the organizations and the move to prevent LaHood and others from leaving Egypt. LaHood was trying to take a personal trip to Dubai when he was stopped at the Cairo airport.

LaHood, 36, is the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Much more from his conversation with Melissa is due on today's broadcast of All Things Considered. Later, we'll add the as-aired conversation to the top of this post.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Tabasco And Beer-Flavored: Not Your Easter Bunny's Jelly Beans

On the eve of Easter and National Jelly Bean Day, let us probe the mysterious origins and unexpected ascendency of the humble candy. And to celebrate, we've sampled Jelly Belly's newest flavors.
NPR

Tabasco And Beer-Flavored: Not Your Easter Bunny's Jelly Beans

On the eve of Easter and National Jelly Bean Day, let us probe the mysterious origins and unexpected ascendency of the humble candy. And to celebrate, we've sampled Jelly Belly's newest flavors.
NPR

Obama's Favorite County — At Least When It Comes To Giving Speeches

The president has visited Prince George's County, Md., four times this year. It is the most affluent county with an African-American majority. It also happens to be very close to the White House.
NPR

Ohio's Law Against Political Lying Heads To Supreme Court

Can a state law prevent political campaigns from doling out misinformation? Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more from The Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.