US arrests suspected agent spying on Egyptian dissidents

US arrests suspected Egyptian-American spy who 'gathered intel on Sisi's opponents'
2 min read
07 January, 2022
An Egyptian American who allegedly spied on opponents of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the US has been arrested in New York.
If found guilty, Pierre Gerges could spend up to 10 years in prison [Getty]

CAIRO - An Egyptian-American man has been arrested for allegedly gathering intelligence on political opponents of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the US, according to a statement released by the US Department of Justice on Thursday.

Pierre Girgis, who has been living in New York, was arrested on Thursday and is facing criminal charges related to acting as a foreign agent in the US since 2018, the statement added.

“We allege Mr. Girgis sent non-public information back to Egypt for the benefit of the Egyptian government. Mr. Girgis broke our laws, and we must hold him accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen.

Girgis is charged with one count of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

He is also accused of one count of acting as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The statement said that Girgis was accused of using his connections to police officials to obtain information on opponents of the Egyptian government in the United States.

While the State Department declined to comment on Girgis's case, spokesperson Ned Price told ABC News: "We are seeking to hold to accountable countries that would pursue dissidents, that would undertake such activity extraterritorially."

Egyptian authorities have not made any statement on this case

Earlier last year, a German citizen of Egyptian origin was convicted of spying for Egypt while working at the then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel's press office, where he gathered information on Egyptian government opponents living in Germany.  

In 2013 current President Sisi led a military coup which overthrew Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Morsi. Since then tens of thousands of government opponents have been imprisoned and many others have fled abroad.