"Don't give dictators money to oppress us."
Egypt's Unchecked Repression
By Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Thursday, August 21, 2008; A15
Editor's note: A year ago today, The Post published the following op-ed by the Egyptian scholar Saad Eddin Ibrahim. This month, an Egyptian judge sentenced the 69-year-old Ibrahim to two years in prison, with hard labor, for harming the country's reputation through his writings in the "foreign press"; 20 additional charges, some of which could carry the death penalty, are pending. The Post reposts the piece to show what is deemed offensive speech by Hosni Mubarak's government.
This month marked the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of Egyptian journalist Reda Hilal. Rumors about the involvement of a secret government death squad tasked with silencing detractors of the ruling Mubarak family in this and other disappearances -- such as that of Libyan dissident Mansour Kikhia in Cairo in 1993 -- have spiked in recent weeks.
On Aug. 8, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights reported that it had confirmed more than 500 cases of police abuse since 1993, including 167 deaths -- three of which took place this year -- that the group "strongly suspects were the result of torture and mistreatment." The organization previously found that, while Egypt's population nearly doubled during the first 25 years of Hosni Mubarak's regime, the number of prisons grew more than fourfold and that the number of detainees held for more than one year without charge or indictment grew to more than 20,000.