Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The plight of Egypt’s most prominent dissident

In a September 22 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Joshua Muravchik, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, highlighted the case of Egyptian sociologist and dissident Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who has been traveling the world for the past three months, afraid to go home.

“What has Mr. Ibrahim done to enrage President Mubarak?” Muravchik asks. “He has loudly advocated democracy in public writings, interviews with Western reporters, and, most unforgivably, in a face-to-face meeting with President George W. Bush.”

Ibrahim was also imprisoned on dubious charges for several years earlier this decade and Muravchik suggests that he was not treated well there. However, while “torture is all too common in Egyptian prison,” Muravchik writes that “his jailers were reluctant to leave scars on Mr. Ibrahim because the U.S. government followed his case closely. (He is married to an American and holds American as well as Egyptian citizenship.) Instead they resorted to sleep deprivation. After 45 days of being roughly wakened each time he started to doze, Mr. Ibrahim suffered a stroke.”

Muravchik also argues that the campaign against Ibrahim “is the latest evidence that Egypt is marching backwards on democracy and human rights.” Hopes grew when Mubarak announced Egypt's first ever presidential election, which was held in 2005. However, Muravchik notes that: “To no one's surprise, the election was not fair.” He adds that Mubarak “had his main competitor, Ayman Nour, tossed in prison on trumped up charges, where he languishes in declining health. Mr. Mubarak then pushed through constitutional “reform” in the form of 35 amendments adopted as a single indivisible package, precluding meaningful deliberation.”

Ibrahim is not in prison today but is still living under a threat and, Muravchik argues, “being persecuted more for the actions of the U.S. president and Congress than for what he, himself, did.” Muravchik asks: “Can we tolerate this?”

For the full article, click here.



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