The U.N. Human Rights office has accused Egypt’s ruling military of “unnecessarily heavy-handed measures” after it raided the offices of several pro-democracy organizations on Thursday, some of which are based in the United States.
Two U.S.-based organizations included in the raid are the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The military claims the raid was part of an investigation into foreign funds.
“The search is based on evidence showing violation of Egyptian laws including not having permits,” the official MENA News Agency announcedThursday.
The U.S. State Department condemned the raids Thursday, saying that U.S. aid to Egypt could be reconsidered if the military’s authoritative measures are not improved.
“We do have a number of new reporting and transparency requirements on funding to Egypt that we have to make to Congress,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a news conference Thursday.
“The Egyptian government is well aware of that and it certainly needs to be aware of that in the context of how quickly this issue gets resolved,” Nuland added.
Many critics are now saying that this raid is part of a full-fledged campaign by the military to underscore the efforts of political activists pushing democracy.
Some civil society groups say the military’s recent crackdowns prove even more stringent than those employed by the previously oppressive regime, led by ex-president Hosni Mubarak for 30 years.
On Friday, 28 Egyptian Rights Groups signed a statement accusing the military of authoritative practices and attempting to dissolve the Arab Spring revolution, which began in February.
“The military council is using Mubarak's authoritarian and repressive tools ... in an even more dangerous and uglier way,” the statement read.
The Egyptian Rights Groups called Thursday’s raids “an unprecedented campaign aimed at covering up big failures of the military council in managing the transition period.”