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Egypt
04.12.02
Urgent Interventions

Press Release: Egypt: Liberation of Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim

PRESS RELEASE


EGYPT
Release of Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim



Paris-Geneva, 3rd December 2002

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of their joint programme the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, express their satisfaction regarding the verdict handed down on the 3rd December by the Cairo Supreme Court of Appeal that released Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim, director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, and three co-accused, who were also being tried by the court in relation with this case.

The Supreme Court of Appeal decided to hold a new hearing on January 7th 2003, during which a final verdict will be produced. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders mandated Mr. Anouar Kousri, a Tunisian lawyer and vice-president of the Tunisian League For the Defence of Human Rights (LTDH), as an observer to the trial.

Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim is charged under the Military Decree No.4 of 1992, adopted within the framework of the State of Emergency Law in 1981, that prohibits the reception of foreign funds without previous authorisation by the State. He is accused of tampering with election documents and propagating false information harmful to the interests of Egypt, as well as embezzelment. Since the beginning of the proceedings, the Observatory has considered that the charges brought against Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim are arbitrary, and only aimed at sanctioning his activity in favour of the defence of Human Rights and of democracy in Egypt. Moreover these charges illustrate obstacles to the freedom of assembly in Egypt.



The State Security Criminal Court first sentenced Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim to seven years in prison on the 21st of May 2001. On February 6th 2002, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Cairo examined the appeal filed by Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim, concerning this sentencing, invalidated the sentence on grounds of faulty procedure and transferred the case to another State Security Crimianl Court. On February 7th 2002, Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim was released. Nine persons amongst the 27 initially people working in the Centre who had also received sentences, benefited from a similar decision. However during the re-examination of the case, on the 29th of June 2002, the State Security Criminal Court again sentenced Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim to a seven year sentence along with three other member of the Centre. He was immediately jailed for a second time with these three people.

Dr. Saad El Din Ibrahim then lodged an appeal before the Supreme Court of Appeal which has just been accepted.

The FIDH and the OMCT urge the highest authorities to guarantee the independence of the judiciary during the re-examination of the case, in order that all the charges brought against Dr. Saad El din Ibrahim be dropped due to their arbitrary character.

For further details please contact:

FIDH : Driss el Yazami, secrétaire général – tél : 00 33 1 43 55 20 11, fax : 00 33 1 43 55 18 80

OMCT : Eric Sottas, Director ; Laurence Cuny : Defenders Program Manager
tél : 00 41 22 809 49 39 / 24 ; fax : 00 41 22 809 49 29
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