Leahy defies WH on Egyptian military aid

 

Pushing back against the White House, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Tuesday that he doesn’t support sending aid to the Egyptian military because it is sentencing members of political opposition to death.

“I'm not prepared to sign off on the delivery of additional aid for the Egyptian military,” Leahy said on the Senate floor.

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Leahy said he wants evidence that the Egyptian military is “committed to the rule of law” first.

The Egyptian military has sentenced more than 600 people to death who support the political opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood. Leahy said the Egyptian military was violating human rights by abusing its judicial system.

Last week, the Obama administration pledged to send helicopters and $650 million in aid to the Egyptian military despite the fact that aid had been suspended after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted last year. Under the omnibus, aid to Egypt was broken up into tranches that were subject to conditions on the ground.

Leahy serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Foreign Operations. He said he was committed to holding up the $650 million in aid to the country.

— Erik Wasson contributed to this article.

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