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U.S. nonprofit groups denounced an Egyptian court for convicting 43 workers, including 16 Americans, of using foreign money to promote civil unrest and sentencing them up to five years in prison.

“Today’s ruling will have a chilling effect on Egyptian civil society and raises serious questions about Egypt’s commitment to the democratic transition,” the International Republican Institute said Tuesday.

The National Democratic Institute said it is “shocked and deeply distressed by the unjust conviction” of its employees.

Only one American remained in Egypt for the trial; the others left after Egypt began persecuting foreign groups last year.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at or @EmbassyRow.