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Egypt: Retrial for democracy and human rights defender

3 December 2002

Today, Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociologist and human rights defender has been granted a retrial by Egypt’s highest appeal court. Minority Rights Group International, and other independent observers, believe the charges against him are politically motivated and aimed at disrupting the legitimate work of civil society organizations within Egypt.

Minority Rights Group International welcomed the news, saying: ‘The charges against Professor Ibrahim and his colleagues were a politically-motivated attempt to silence those working for democracy and minority rights. From the start, this case has been an abuse of the justice system for political ends.’

This will be Professor Ibrahim’s third trial on the same charges. The court did not say whether he would be freed pending the retrial, due to start on January 7 2003. Despite medical advice, he has been refused leave to pursue specialist medical treatment unavailable in Egypt.

Notes for editors

  1. The disputed charges against Professor Ibrahim and 27 colleagues at the Ibn Khaldoun Centre were originally filed when the first trial began in late 2000. They include receiving foreign (EU) funding without official permission, spreading false information harmful to Egypt’s image abroad and embezzlement. The EU has insisted that it has no cause for complaint over terms or use of funds granted to the Ibn Khaldoun Centre
  2. The defendants were originally convicted in May 2001.
  3. Professor Ibrahim is a leading advocate for democratic reform in Egypt and a former Council member of Minority Rights Group International.

For more information, please contact the MRG Press Office on [email protected].