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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Norwegian held in Egypt returns home

A Norwegian politician for the Conservative Party (Høyre) who faced charges of carrying out illegal political operations in Egypt was finally allowed to leave the troubled country and arrived home in Norway over the weekend.

Christian Angell was allowed to fly out of Egypt along with more than 40 other pro-democracy activists, many from the US, after intense negotiations involving the foreign ministries of all those involved, including Norway’s. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was in the Middle East and North Africa last week, and had announced Thursday that a flight carrying the activists had taken off from Cairo “with a Norwegian on board.”

Angell had been on leave from Norway’s Conservative Party to work for the US-based International Republican Institute, which aims to promote democracy in many countries. They got in trouble with the military regime now in power in Egypt, for allegedly failing to receive permission to carry out their pro-democracy  work.

Charges against them have not been dropped, but their physical release from Egypt means “the crisis is considerably reduced,” according to Støre. He said he and other diplomats had been working behind the scenes for weeks, to get the activists out of Egypt.

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