Tuesday, March 18, 2003

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Some good news in Egypt

Egypt's highest court acquitted Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian/American activist, of charges stemming from his human rights work in Egypt. He had been convicted by two lower courts -- this was his last chance before facing seven years in prison. The Guardian has the AP story.

What does this mean? Amnesty International USA's executive director's reaction was as follows:

This is a significant and important victory, not just for Saad but for all human rights activists in Egypt and the Arab world. An articulate and energetic voice has stood up to a repressive government and insisted that he won't be silenced.

Freedom House is also happy. Their executive director said:

This is a momentous day for Saad Eddin and his family and we celebrate the court's decision with them. This is also an important day for justice and the rule of law in Egypt. We hope it represents a turning point for the country's human rights and democracy advocates and that it will set a precedent that eliminates the threat of official persecution against advocates of peaceful democratic change.

I hope they're right -- it buttresses my argument about democratization in the Middle East [Not to mention helping millions of Arabs trapped in tyranny--ed. Oh, yeah, that too]

UPDATE: An alert reader points me to evidence that Egypt still has a long way to go in it's path towards liberalization.

posted by Dan on 03.18.03 at 02:17 PM