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Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Egypt to free human rights activist
Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Ibrahim: Questioned over alleged Israeli contacts
A leading human rights activist held in Egypt since June is to be freed, say court sources.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociology professor with dual Egyptian and US nationality, is to be released on bail.


I believe the accusations made against him cannot stand in any court of justice

Lawyer for Saad Eddin Ibrahim
The professor, who works at the American University in Cairo, has been questioned over allegations of spying, inciting sectarian strife, and accepting foreign money to make a documentary about forthcoming parliamentary elections.

His lawyer, Farid el-Dib, said his client would still be under investigation, but welcomed the decision to free him.

"I'm pleased to see Mr Saad Eddin out of this dilemma," said Mr el-Dib.

"I will continue defending him. I believe the accusations made against him cannot stand in any court of justice."

Mr Ibrahim's secretary, Nadia Abdel Nour, who was detained at the same time, is also being granted bail.

Fraud

In a statement released from prison during his detention, Mr Ibrahim said the Egyptian Government had arrested him to cover up irregularities in parliamentary elections.

He said a think-tank he had founded, the Ibn Khaldun Centre, had in the past ensured the integrity of elections and reduced the possibilities of fraud.

He added that he believed a case might have been contrived against him in order to prevent him from making new accusations during parliamentary elections due in November.

Israeli diplomat

The think-tank was closed and sealed off by police after his arrest, and a number of other people detained.

Egyptian security sources said Mr Ibrahim was accused of having links with a foreign military agency and an Israeli diplomat.

The US had repeatedly called for his release, and human rights groups including Amnesty International had also condemned his detention.

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See also:

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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