US man charged with gathering information on opponents of Egyptian authorities

A New York man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly performing as a overseas agent of the Egyptian authorities and covertly gathering details about the political opponents of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the US Department of Justice mentioned Thursday. 

According to court docket paperwork, Manhattan resident Pierre Girgis used his connections with native regulation enforcement to trace and acquire personal details about critics of the Egyptian authorities who have been positioned within the United States. 

Prosecutors say Girgis, 39, additionally coordinated conferences between US and Egyptian regulation enforcement and organized for Egyptian officers to attend US-based police trainings. Girgis allegedly used an encrypted messaging app to debate his standing as an agent with an Egyptian official in 2018. 

“The Department of Justice will not allow agents of foreign governments to operate in the United States to pursue and collect information about critics of those governments,” mentioned Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen. 

“Working at the direction of the Egyptian government, Girgis agreed to target its perceived critics located in the United States,” Olsen mentioned in a information launch. “This indictment begins the process of holding him accountable.”

Girgis is charged with performing as an agent of a overseas authorities with out notifying the US Attorney General, as is legally required, and conspiring to behave as a overseas agent. A federal district court docket choose will decide his sentence. 

In a daily briefing name with reporters on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price declined to remark particularly on the case however mentioned usually that the US “seeking to hold to account countries that would pursue dissidents.”

Sisi’s authorities has jailed tens of 1000’s of perceived authorities critics, together with US residents and their members of the family. The Washington-based Freedom Initiative and different advocacy teams have documented a sample of reprisals towards Egyptian authorities critics who’re living within the United States.

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