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Egyptian court acquits Saad Eddin Ibrahim and Ibn Khaldoun defendants

18 March 2003

Minority Rights Group International welcomed the acquittal today by the Egyptian Court of Cassation of Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim and three of his co-defendants from the Ibn Khaldoun Centre. The Court which had retried the defendants following two earlier overturned convictions by the State Security Court, dismissed the case which had begun with the arrest of the defendants and closure of the human rights ‘think tank’ in June 2000.

The case attracted sustained criticism from many including rights groups such as Minority Rights Group International and the European Union whose funding of a programme of election monitoring and participation work had formed the basis of the charges brought against Ibrahim. The defendants had been accused of a charge of propagating false statements bringing Egypt into disrepute, among other charges widely held to be politically motivated and aimed at silencing Ibrahim and shutting down the work of the Ibn Khaldoun Centre.

Director of Minority Rights Group International, Mark Lattimer, stated ‘This decision is a testament to the independence of the court and has finally delivered justice. The Egyptian authorities must now cease their persecution of human rights defenders and repeal security measures which have been used to clamp down on free speech. Human rights organizations must be allowed to continue their work free from intimidation.’