Saad Eddin Ibrahim’s case will be decided today by the appeals court, which can set aside or confirm his sentence of seven years of hard labor. If the appeal is turned down and Saad Eddin serves that sentence, there is some question about whether his health will collapse altogether long before he is released. Hosni Mubarak will then be guilty of judicial murder, and I don’t think he realizes how little the world community and those of us concerned with human rights will forgive him for it.
Saad Eddin, a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, was railroaded from beginning to end, and is basically in jail for helping peasants learn how to vote intelligently and for criticizing Hosni’s plan of turning the country over to his son in a dynastic manner. I studied with Saad Eddin, and have long admired him. If this is what happens to people who work peacefully for democracy and human rights, Mubarak is only inviting the extremists into the arena. The wind is blowing against authoritarian military regimes in the Middle East, and Egypt’s ruling elite should stop being so complacent. Giving Saad Eddin his liberty would be a first step in the sort of reforms that might save their necks.