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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Egypt jails human rights activist
Saad Eddin Ibrahim was kept behind bars during his trial
Saad Eddin Ibrahim behind bars during his trial
An Egyptian court has sentenced a prominent human rights campaigner to seven years in jail.

Saad Eddine Ibrahim and 27 co-defendants were arrested last July.


It is a struggle and it will go on. I do not regret anything I stood for

Saad Eddine Ibrahim
The accusations against Mr Ibrahim included spying for the United States and accepting funds from abroad to make a film deriding the Egyptian Government.

Mr Ibrahim - a professor of sociology and director of the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Democracy who holds dual American and Egyptian citizenship - pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His co-defendants also received prison sentences, ranging from two to five years.

Lawyer Ibrahim Sadeh told The Associated Press news agency that he would ask for the sentence to be suspended until the Cassation Court, Egypt's highest, could review the case.

'Politically motivated'

There were shouts of protest in the courtroom as the verdict was announced.

Mr Ibrahim told AP that the verdict was "politically motivated".

"It is a struggle and it will go on," he said. "I do not regret anything I stood for."

During his detention, Mr Ibrahim said the Egyptian Government had arrested him to cover up irregularities in parliamentary elections in 1995.

He said the Ibn Khaldun Centre had in the past ensured the integrity of elections and reduced the possibilities of fraud.

The United States has repeatedly called for his release, and human rights groups including Amnesty International have also condemned his detention.

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See also:

10 Aug 00 | Middle East
Egypt to free human rights activist
14 Jul 00 | Middle East
Rights groups press Egypt over arrests
02 Jul 00 | Middle East
US refused access to rights campaigner
01 Jul 00 | Middle East
Egyptian democracy campaigner arrested
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