Center's activities have been kept under surveillance for some time, and in January 2000 the authorities ordered its journal, Civil Society, to close down.

At the time of the detention of Dr. Ibrahim and two of his staff members during the night of June 30, 2000, the security police also closed the ICDS and seized all computers and files as well as research materials and financial records. Since that time, entry to the Center has been denied to its board members and staff. The state prosecutor has been given access to the confiscated records in the preparation of the case against Dr. Ibrahim and his staff, but these same records are closed to the defense. The personal computer, files, and family safe in the home of Dr. Ibrahim were also confiscated by the prosecutor.

During the next six weeks, 28 people (including Dr. Ibrahim) were placed in preventive detention in Cairo's al-Turah prison or Quantar Prison for Women. At the time of the initial June 30 detention, the detention order was for 15 days pending the outcome of a state investigation. Subsequently it was renewed twice, up to the maximum 45-day time limit under the 1981 Egyptian emergency law. Dr. Ibrahim and his colleagues were released on bail ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 Egyptian pounds (4 Egyptian pounds equals about US $1) on August 10, 2000, pending the filing of formal charges. As is routine in cases under the emergency security law, the prosecution used the detention time to uncover and present new accusations.

During the early weeks of Dr. Ibrahim's detention and confinement many newspapers, apparently under government influence, published articles containing speculation, rumors, and inaccurate accounts of his behavior and actions. Several reported identical factual errors, suggesting orchestration. For example, according to the Middle East Times, the pro-government paper Akbar El Yom wrote that “He (Ibrahim) deserves to be stoned . . . we know he is . . . loyal to those who pay him lots of money in return for information . . . in which he defames Egypt's reputation.” According to Al-Ahram Weekly Dr. Ibrahim faced 30 accusations over the course of his detention. Subsequently newspaper comments became more temperate. In fact, sensational accounts and most speculative accusations disappeared for some time from the front pages and editorials, particularly in the government controlled media. Knowledgeable observers believe that the apparent smear campaign was abruptly abandoned in response to international expressions of concern and protest. However, in early April sources close to Dr. Ibrahim claimed that the Egyptian press was again sensationalizing the case and cited as an example a recent interview of President Hosni Mubarak that was published in Newsweek on March 31, 2001, but reportedly misquoted by the Egyptian press.

II. The Charges

At the time of Dr. Ibrahim's release on bail, many people in Egypts' civil rights community assumed that the accusations against him would be dropped based on their

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement