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Cablegate: Twenty Lawsuits Against Democracy Activist Saad

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #3455 3450814
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110814Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7699
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 003455

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: TWENTY LAWSUITS AGAINST DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST SAAD
EDDIN IBRAHIM

REF: A. CAIRO 3283
B. CAIRO 3341
C. CAIRO 3426

Sensitive but unclassified. Not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) In a December 9 conversation with us, Barbara
Ibrahim (wife of Egyptian-American democracy activist Saad
Eddin Ibrahim (SEI)), noted that her husband is now facing
twenty separate lawsuits, most of them charging him with
"spreading false news," espionage, and attempting to harm
Egypt's economy by calling for cuts in U.S. assistance to
Egypt. She commented that SEI feels that "the idea is to
keep him busy and out of the country." With regard to the
libel case against SEI and the Ibn Khaldun Center (IKC),
filed by Tagammu Party leader Rifaat Said (ref B), Ibrahim
said that SEI's lawyer "feels confident" that the case can be
resolved in an out of court settlement. The lawyer recently
counter-sued Said for libel, citing "insulting comments" he
had made about SEI on a satellite TV show. Said's lawyer and
SEI's lawyer are due to meet before the Eid al Adha holiday
(which begins December 19) to discuss a possible out of court
settlement, or more formal arbitration, which would also
occur out of court.

2. (SBU) With regard to the other nineteen lawsuits, Ibrahim
noted that the hearings of the various cases keep being
postponed, "mostly at the request of the prosecution." One
such case was scheduled for December 7, but then postponed
until January 17. This new case is reportedly against both
SEI and IKC, and recommends that the government assume
administration of IKC, in part because it allegedly received
$40 million in USG funding. (Note: Per ref C, IKC received
USD 550,000 in MEPI funding this year for political education
and electoral rights activities, and is currently engaged in
a USD 100,000 two-year Grassroots Democracy and Islam program
with USAID. End note). Ibrahim said that it would be
helpful, both for this case and others, if SEI's lawyer had a
document from the USG detailing precisely how much funding
IKC has received from the US. We are currently preparing a
brief letter along these lines, to pass to Ibrahim.

Ricciardone

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