Egyptian-American activist: Mubarak should receive a fair trial

Former President Hosni Mubarak should receive a fair trial, a prominent Egyptian-American activist told a state news website on Wednesday.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, held a dialogue with, affiliated with Egyptian state TV, to share his views about Egypt's future.

Ibrahim also said he is sorry for what the Mubaraks are going through, and that their story will be a lesson for any coming president. 

He said he believes Egypt's next president could reduce the penalty imposed on Mubarak or pardon him if Egypt’s future constitution permits. But any pardon should be put to a referendum first, he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the only group that will benefit from conducting parliamentary elections in September, Ibrahim said. He said it can use its influence and organizational power to win votes.

Ibrahim suggested that parliamentary elections be put off for six months to a year until a new constitution is drafted.

Speaking on the rise of Salafis, Ibrahim said they did not participate in the revolution and want to “hijack it.” He even said they were opposed to the revolution because they believe in obedience to the people in charge and say it is part of one’s obedience to God.

Asked about whether leaders from the dissolved National Democratic Party should be banned from political activity for five years, Ibrahim said only a final judicial ruling can deprive someone of such activity, which he said is a basic human right.

Ibrahim signed a petition in 2010 supporting a presidential run by Gamal Mubarak, the 47-year-old son of the president. Ibrahim said he had signed the petition – issued by the Popular Coalition in Support of a Gamal Mubarak Candidacy – “because every Egyptian has the right to run for elections that are free, fair and under international and local supervision.”

He added that a presidential bid by Gamal would not amount to presidential "inheritance,” as has been claimed by younger Mubarak detractors.

This step came in contradiction to a series of articles he wrote in 2000 to warn of power inheritance in Arab countries, following the rise of Gamal in Egyptian political life.

Ibrahim left for the US after his release from prison in 2003. He was imprisoned for tarnishing Egypt’s reputation, charges for which he was later acquitted by the Court of Cassation. He returned to Egypt in August 2010.

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