Egypt to lift travel ban on Americans in NGO case: sources

CAIRO Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:25pm EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt has decided to lift a travel ban preventing American pro-democracy activists from leaving the country, judicial sources said on Wednesday, a move that is likely to defuse a standoff that has plunged U.S.-Egyptian ties into a crisis.

It was not immediately clear when any of the activists involved in the case would leave the country. Sixteen of the 43 people facing charges are Americans. Some of them are not in Egypt and some others have sought refuge in the U.S. embassy.

"The assistant to the attorney general, following a request from the investigating judges, has issued an order to lift the ban," a judicial source said, adding that charges had not been dropped against any of those involved.

Two other judicial sources also said a decision to lift the travel ban from the U.S. citizens had been taken.

The U.S. embassy had no immediate comment on the case.

(Reporting by Marwa Awad and Tamim Elyan; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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