Human Rights Activist Convicted For Defaming Egypt

Egyptian-American human rights advocate and an open critic of President Hosni Mubarak, Saad Eddin Ibrahim was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in absentia Saturday for “tarnishing Egypt’s reputation,” media reports said. It is the second time that he is being convicted.

Lawyers Abul Naga al-Mehrezi and Hossam Salim took Ibrahim to court accusing him of defaming his mother country after a series of speeches and articles on citizenship and democracy, in which he criticized the Egyptian regime. He was granted bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds.

Ibrahim went into exile several months ago and currently resides in the United States. He said he wanted to return from exile abroad only on assurances that he will not be arrested.

In recent times, public critics of the Egyptian government policies have been the targets of multiple lawsuits for discussing sensitive issues openly. Under Egyptian law, citizens may file suits against individuals who make statements that harm society, and the accused can face criminal punishment if found guilty.

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