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Activist’s Trial Postponed in Egypt

November 18, 2000

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Lawyers defending human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim rejected the charges against him at the opening of his trial Saturday, saying Ibrahim had been targeted for political reasons.

``What is demanded here is Saad Eddin Ibrahim’s head″ and not justice, lead defense attorney Ibrahim Saleh told the court.

Ibrahim, an Egyptian who also holds American citizenship, and 27 others are facing charges ranging from accepting foreign money without government approval to issuing false statements about the country’s internal situation.

They are also accused of trying to embezzle money and making plans to bribe employees at the state-run radio and television to broadcast programs about the Ibn Khaldoun Center, a Cairo think tank run by Ibrahim.

``This case is clearly politically motivated,″ Saleh said after the court closed. ``We will uncover during the course of the trial what we mean by that. (Ibrahim) was not charged criminally, but charged politically.″

Ibrahim, 61, was arrested and detained in late June. He was released Aug. 10. He has said that the prosecutor’s charges were prompted by his political activities and the decision to set up a committee to monitor parliamentary elections, which concluded Tuesday.

The attorneys of all 28 defendants asked Saturday for a postponement in order to allow time for further review of the case and for calling witnesses. The judge complied without an exact date, but he said the trial would resume with the first round of cases in late January.

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