Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||18 March 2003|
|Victim:||Saad Eddin Ibrahim|
|Subject:||Dr. Ibrahim Acquitted|
|Issues:||Academic and scientific freedom; Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention|
|Type of alert:||Update|
|Related alerts:||10 July 2000; 11 August 2000; 21 November 2000; 26 February 2001; 22 May 2001; 8 February 2002; 20 June 2002; 2 August 2002; 3 December 2002|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
On 18 March 2003, Egypt's highest appeals court acquitted Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim of all charges of tarnishing the image of the State abroad and illegally accepting funds from the European Union. The charges were related to a documentary that Dr. Ibrahim and the Ibn Khaldun Center for Developmental Studies produced on voter fraud in Egypt. Dr. Ibrahim was first arrested in the summer of 2000. He was convicted in 2001 in a State Security Court and spent more than 500 days in prison. Dr. Ibrahimís lawyers appealed his case to the Court of Cassation. This was his last possible appeal.
Upon hearing the verdict, Dr. Ibrahim and his family cried out in relief. Dr. Ibrahim was released in December 2002 pending the retrial. He has spent the last few months attending to his health, which was severely compromised while in prison. Dr. Ibrahim suffers from a neurological disorder that impedes the flow of oxygen to his brain. He also fell and broke his leg while in jail. He needed an operation that would reset the bone with pins, but the prison medical team put his leg in a cast instead. He still suffers pain and stiffness in his leg and has difficulty walking. Now that he has been acquitted, Dr. Ibrahim is free to travel and seek additional medical care.
Dr. Ibrahim was honored at a special reception at the AAAS Annual Meeting. His children Randa and Amir traveled to Denver to accept the honor on their father's behalf. The Science and Human Rights Program has a page on our website with photos and the text of the speeches from the reception, at http://shr.aaas.org/reception/2003.htm
International human rights groups applauded the acquittal, but remain concerned about Egypt's commitment to freedom of expression. Amnesty International called for Egypt to abolish or review legislation that imposes prison sentences for the mere exercise of freedom of expression. Amnesty stated. "The politically motivated charges on which Saad Eddin Ibrahim and other human rights defenders were convicted and imprisoned in the past are a pretext to punish them for criticizing government policies."
(Sources of information for this alert include Amnesty International and the Associated Press.)
No action is required at this time. Many thanks to all those who sent appeals.
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Victoria Baxter, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6797; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax 202-289-4950.
The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued.