Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi rides a bicycle during a follow-up on training and rehabilitation programs at the Military Academy in Cairo, February 19, 2018. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
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The verdict ended a seven-year legal battle that rattled civil society groups just months after a 2011 uprising forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down after 29 years in power.The Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appeals court, threw out that verdict in April this year and ordered a fresh trial, which culminated in Thursday's ruling.Amnesty International said the verdict was a step in the right direction, saying it was a "bogus" case that targeted human rights defenders for doing their work.Germany also welcomed the verdict, which acquitted two employees of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a pro-democracy and rights group linked to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party.The Americans involved in the case worked for NGOs that included Freedom House, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.Since the NGOs case began in 2011, Egyptian authorities have frozen the assets of at least six rights groups and 10 human rights advocates.
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