|German NGO, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, was one of the rights group raided by the Egyptian authorities [EPA]
Germany has summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Berlin to protest over what it called an "unacceptable" raid on the Cairo office of a German political foundation.
A German foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday that Berlin was troubled by the raid a day earlier on the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, an organisation with close ties to the conservative party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The foundation was among 17 non-governmental organisations whose officers were raided on Thursday.
"The Egyptian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry this morning," Andreas Peschke, the spokesman, told reporters in a news briefing.
"Our deep concern in light of yesterday's search of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation was conveyed to him in the clearest terms. He was told that in our view it is unacceptable for the foundation's work to be hindered in this way."
Peschke said Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, expected Egyptian officials to allow the foundation to resume its work "immediately".
He called the raid a clear violation of a joint German-Egyptian government agreement signed in August for a "transformation partnership" to promote the development of democracy and civil society in Egypt.
Peschke added that Germany intended to keep providing financial support for democratic reforms in Egypt but "would re-examine this if progress is not made".
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation condemned the search as well, calling it "completely incomprehensible" in a statement.
Several Egyptian rights groups on Friday accused the country's ruling military council of using "repressive tools" of the
deposed government in waging an "unprecedented campaign" against pro-democracy organisations.
The groups' joint statement came just hours after security forces stormed offices of 10 rights organisations, including several based in the United States.
The Egyptian interior ministry said the raids were part of an investigation into foreign funding of rights groups.
The ruling military said it is investigating how the groups are funded [Al Jazeera]
The raids drew an angry reaction from US. The administration of US President Barack Obama demanded Egyptian authorities halt the raids, saying they were "inconsistent" with long-standing US-Egypt co-operation.
Victoria Nuland, the state department spokesperson, said the US ambassador to Egypt and the most senior US diplomat for the Middle East had spoken to Egyptian officials about the situation and "made very clear that this issue needs immediate attention".
Separately, the UN human rights office criticised Egypt's "unnecessarily heavy-handed measures" against the groups, calling on Egypt's rulers to allow them to "carry out their important work without undue interference".
Friday's statement, signed by 28 Egyptian rights groups, said the raids were part of a clampdown against leaders of the uprising and were an attempt to "liquidate" the revolution.
"The military council is using Mubarak's authoritarian and repressive tools ... in an even more dangerous and uglier way," the statement read. The raids "are an unprecedented campaign aimed at covering up big failures of the military council in managing the transition period".
An official with the justice ministry's inspection teams said computers and cash were confiscated during the raids. He said an earlier investigation revealed these groups had received up to $100m from abroad, then deposited the money in different Egyptian banks using names of illiterate Egyptians for the fake accounts.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies