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Egyptian Sociologist Ibrahim Is Acquitted

After almost three years of legal battles and time in jail, a final ruling by Egypt’s highest appeals court acquitted renowned social activist and sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim and two of his co-defendants of “undermining the dignity of the state and tarnishing its reputation.” On March 18, Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered the 64-year-old American University-Cairo professor freed. There can be no retrial, which brings an end to a legal saga that many scholars and human-rights leaders say exposed the fragility of academic freedom in the Arab world’s most intellectually prominent country.

At a court hearing on February 4, 2003, Ibrahim’s lawyers had refuted the prosecution’s charges that Ibrahim and his colleagues from the advocacy center that he directed, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, had been involved in fraud, in publishing false information to tarnish Egypt’s reputation, or had received foreign donations without permission.

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