Americans On Trial Leave Egypt After Bail Paid

By Salon Staff

Published March 1, 2012 5:27PM (EST)

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian officials say seven American and eight other foreign democracy workers facing trial on charges of fomenting unrest have left the country after they posted bail.

The departure of the Americans eases the worst crisis in Egypt-U.S. relations in 30 years.

The plane took off around 7:00 p.m. Cairo time heading to Cyprus, Egyptian airport officials said.

The seven American democracy workers, who were put on trail on charges they worked for non-profit groups that stoked anti-government unrest, were cleared after the U.S. posted nearly $5 million in bail to win their release.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) — Seven American democracy workers facing trial in Egypt on charges of fomenting unrest are free to leave the country after the U.S. posted nearly $5 million in bail to win their release, Egyptian officials said Thursday.

Court officials said the U.S. paid bail for the seven and nine other Americans charged in the case who had already left Egypt. It was set at $300,000 for each of the 16 or $4.8 million. Egypt lifted the travel ban on the seven late Wednesday and set the bail.

A convoy of white vans carrying the sign of U.S. Embassy arrived at Cairo airport carrying the seven Americans, who include the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. They had sought refuge at the U.S. embassy, fearing arrest.

The case has infuriated Washington, which threatened to cut off $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.

The Americans worked at non-profit groups promoting democracy in Egypt and were charged with stoking anti-government unrest with illegal foreign funding.

The case sparked intense behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two countries to find a way out.

Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------