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Rfl dfn ibrahim-acquitted


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Rfl dfn ibrahim-acquitted

  1. 1. Africa | Americas | Asia | Europe | MideastFinally freed, Saad Eddin Ibrahim plans tocontinue his workby Robert Lebowitz, Digital Freedom Network(March 24, 2003) Enjoying his first week of freedom in two years,Egyptian democracy leader Saad Eddin Ibrahim told the DigitalFreedom Network that he planned to get back to his work as soonas he returned from a trip abroad for medical treatment."There is much to accomplish," said Dr. Ibrahim in an interview withDFN following his acquittal on two-year-old charges of fraud andespionage. "I will continue to push for constitutional reform and towork for the improvement of minority rights, particularly those ofCoptic Christian groups — all of the same issues I was involvedwith before my imprisonment."Dr. Ibrahim emerged victorious fromEgypts Court of Cassation on March18 after the court issued a "NotGuilty" verdict and dismissed theEgyptian governments long-standingcharges against him. In May 2001,Dr. Ibrahim had been sentenced toseven years imprisonment forreceiving funding withoutauthorization, disseminating falseinformation abroad, and appropriatingmoney by fraudulent means. Asubsequent appeal was dismissed,causing Dr. Ibrahim and his family tobring his case to the Court ofCassation in a last-ditch effort to winhis freedom.Dr. Ibrahim attributed the acquittal to the fact that he was tried inthe Court of Cassation — Egypts appeals court — rather than theSpecial State Security Court where his case had been heardpreviously. The Special State Security Court was created by formerpresident Anwar Sadat to deal with national security issues during abrief period when emergency law was not in place, and it routinelydispenses with due process."[The Court of Cassation] was a true court," explained Dr. Ibrahim,"while the other courts were exceptional courts to be used underemergency law. I had been convicted by these State SecurityCourts."There was no case against me, and in the end, this courtrecognized that."Several other human rights activists affiliated with Dr. Ibrahimsthink-tank, the Ibn Khaldun Center, who had been found guiltyalong with Dr. Ibrahim, were also acquitted along with him. The IbnDr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim (above) vows tocontinue the human rights work he wasdoing before his arrest.HOMETake a standVolunteerSubscribeNewsOnline chatsRelated linksDownloadActivists workshopAbout usMedia kitOur positionsContact usSite mapPage 1 of 3DFN: Finally freed, Saad Eddin Ibrahim plans to continue his work7/11/2006
  2. 2. Khaldun Center was shut down by the government in June, 2000,but Dr. Ibrahim says that has no doubt that now it will reopen soon.A man with unpopular positionsSaad Eddin Ibrahim is a world-renowned sociologist whoseinfluence has permeated many segments of Egyptian life. He hasbeen a frequent commentator on political affairs across the Arabmedia, an analyst of issues concerning racism and ethnicminorities, and an educator of Egypts elite at the AmericanUniversity in Cairo. In 1985, Ibrahim began the Ibn Khaldun Center,which investigates voting practices in Egypt. Many of Ibrahimspositions and opinions have been unpopular with Egyptianpresident Hosni Mubarak and the ruling party.He has advocated a full normalization of relations with Israel, morelatitude for the more moderate Islamic fundamentalists, and fairertreatment of the Copts. He has stridently criticized voting practicesand has demanded democratic freedoms.Arrest and imprisonmentIn the summer of 2000, his house was surrounded by dozens ofState Security Investigation guards, some of whom stormed in andconfiscated his files, books and computer. Simultaneously, othermembers of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies werearrested. By dawn the next day, Dr. Ibrahim was under arrest in theState Security Investigations headquarters. He was subjected to alengthy and bewildering interrogation, and only released on bailsome six weeks later.On May 23, 2002, he was found guilty by Egypts State SecurityCourt of a multitude of charges and sentenced to seven years ofhard labor. Dr. Ibrahim appealed that charge, only to have anotherState Security Court dismiss that appeal in August.Dr. Ibrahim suffers from a degenerative neurological condition. Still,despite his confinement and his illness — which was exacerbatedby his incarceration — Dr. Ibrahim did not desist from his humanrights work. Dr. Ibrahim stated that he had sent an initiative toSaddam Hussein from his jail cell in an effort to negotiate somekind of peace and avoid an armed conflict in Iraq. "Innocentcivilians are the ones who pay the price in every war," said Dr.Ibrahim. "I only hope it is over quickly."Still, Dr. Ibrahim is optimistic abouthuman rights in the Middle East. Inan online chat with the DigitalFreedom Network this past Januarywhile he was awaiting this mostrecent verdict, Dr. Ibrahim pointed toevidence that conditions wereimproving."When I started in human rights 20 years ago, there were nohuman rights organizations," said Dr. Ibrahim. "Now there are atleast 50 in the Arab world. It has been an uphill fight, but we havepersisted and we have won. My case is an example of the changingtrend. There are hundreds of thousands of people like me and we"Whatever Iencounter in the wayof harassment, I amready to take it on."Page 2 of 3DFN: Finally freed, Saad Eddin Ibrahim plans to continue his work7/11/2006
  3. 3. will continue to make gains."But does Dr. Ibrahim not fear more harassment by the Egyptiangovernment, particularly after having languished through this pasttwo- year ordeal?"This remains to be seen," responded Dr. Ibrahim with equanimity."We shall see. Whatever I encounter in the way of harassment, Iam ready to take it on."RELATED MATERIALIn spite of his plight, anoptimist: Egyptian democracyleader Saad Eddin Ibrahimchats with DFN on the eve ofhis final retrial.(February 4,2003)Saad Eddin Ibrahim foundguilty once again:For a secondtime, Egypts most prominenthuman rights activist wasconvicted of fraud, bribery, andspreading false information.(July 29, 2002)Saad Eddin Ibrahim grantednew trial: Egypts highestappeals court finds flaws inrenowned human rightsactivists previous trial.(February 6, 2002)RELATED SITESIbn Kaldhun CenterArab Organization for HumanRightsDemocracy EgyptHome | Take a stand | Volunteer | SubscribeNews | Online chats | Related links | Download | Activists workshopAbout us | Media kit | Our positions | Contact us | Site mapUnless otherwise noted, all material copyright © 2003 Digital Freedom Network.Page 3 of 3DFN: Finally freed, Saad Eddin Ibrahim plans to continue his work7/11/2006