On December 3rd 2002, the Egyptian Court of Cassation overturned the State Security Court’s July 2002 conviction and sentencing and ordered a third re-trial. Dr. Eddin Ibrahim has been released on bail pending the new trial which is expected to begin in February 2003. The new trial will be before the Court of Cassation.
Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an internationally respected human rights advocate and sociology professor, was been sentenced to seven years of hard labour after being convicted on July 29, 2002 by the High State Security Court in Egypt for accepting of foreign funds without the proper permission of authorities, distributing false information abroad harmful to Egypt’s interests, and for making false expense claims to the European Commission. His co-defendants have received prison sentences ranging from one to five years in duration.
LRWC wrote expressing concern that the prosecution of Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim appears to have been politically motivated and intended to prevent Professor Ibrahim continuing his human rights advocacy. Reports indicate that the prosecutions and convictions were themselves a violation internationally accepted principles. The Military decree, adopted under a State Emergency Law following an earthquake in Egypt in 1992, was inappropriately used against Dr. Eddin Ibrahim. Secondly, the charge of defrauding the European Commission was refuted by the affidavit evidence of the Commission itself submitted to the Supreme State Security Court denying the occurrence of the criminal acts alleged. The comments regarding elections in Egypt, underlying Professor Ibrahim’s conviction for disseminating false information ought to have been protected from criminal prosecution as legitimate political opinions on an issue of public concern. Criminal prosecutions for publicly criticizing government conduct or policy are anachronistic and an unjustified interference with freedom of expression.
LRWC requested the: release Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim and his codefendants, re-opening of the Ibn Khaldun Centre, end to the use of the Emergency Law against human rights or non-governmental organizations and adherance by the judiciary to Eygyt’s international law obligations. (Gail Davidson)