Egyptian Sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim Released Pending New Trial
December 4, 2002
The seven-year prison sentence handed down to Egyptian-American academic Saad Eddin Ibrahim on July 29, 2002, was overturned on procedural grounds on December 3, 2002, by Egypt's highest court (the Court of Cassation), as were lesser sentences being served by three colleagues who had been sentenced with him. In what the Ibrahim family described as "a spirit of cooperation," government officials expedited the paperwork needed to release Professor Ibrahim "in unprecedented time." By early evening the Ibrahim's were reunited and at home.
The Court of Cassation also ordered a retrial (Professor Ibrahim's third on the same charges) to begin on January 7, 2003. According to press reports, the Court of Cassation, rather than the High State Security Court that heard the case in the two previous trials, will hear the case in this final trial.
Professor Ibrahim is 63 years old and in urgent need of neurological medical test not available in Egypt. The charges against him include accepting foreign funds without authorization, disseminating false information harmful to Egypt's interest, and embezzlement. These charges have been widely criticized by international human rights groups, government organizations, and the press as being unjust and politically motivated. Professor Ibrahim, a sociology professor at the University of Cairo, director of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, and advocate for democracy and human rights in Egypt, received in his previous two trials the harshest sentence of all of the twenty-eight accused.
The presidents of the National Academies, in a letter to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, wrote on August 1, 2002, that they were "deeply distressed" that Professor Ibrahim's second trial resulted in a conviction. "Professor Ibrahim is known to us and many of our members as a man of integrity and scholarly distinction. He has shown commitment to justice, human rights, democratic values and his native Egypt." For further background information on the case of Professor Ibrahim, click here.