The founder and former Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, was sentenced to jail for seemingly minor offenses that appear baseless. CCS has written the President of Egypt asking that he review this case and release Dr. Serageldin as quickly as possible. Many other human rights organizations as well as many Nobel Laureates have sent letters in his support as well.
October 7, 2017
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 2391 1441
Dear President al-Sisi:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for our internationally renowned colleague Dr. Ismail Serageldin, who was recently sentenced to jail for extremely minor offenses that seem baseless. We are hopeful that our appeal of that sentence to you will be successful. We remain worried that he is still at risk, and we urge you to ensure that Dr. Serageldin is treated justly and fairly.
As you know, Dr. Serageldin is best known as the founder and Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a project designed both to connect with the period in Egypt’s history when the Library of Alexandria was the most important center of study in the world, and to develop Egypt as a modern base for scholarship and academic study. The resurrection of the Library, under Dr. Serageldin’s leadership did exactly that. Dr. Serageldin is widely known and respected for his work in a variety of academic and cultural fields. His current predicament has shocked his colleagues and supporters throughout the world.
During the turmoil of 2011, Dr. Serageldin faced numerous charges which appear to have been politically motivated. Thankfully all but three of those charges were dropped, but the remaining misdemeanors lingered – all having to do with day-to-day management of library operations with which Dr. Serageldin was almost certainly not engaged. All of the remaining charges were ruled by a team of prosecution experts in 2016 to be more or less baseless.
We are concerned that Dr. Serageldin was convicted of anything under these circumstances, and we are profoundly disturbed by the fact that the convictions came with a multi-year jail sentence, which by any standard is excessive and calls into question the motivations and the reasoning applied by the court.
Again, we recognize that Dr. Serageldin is in the process of appealing this unjust decision and sentence, and we are optimistic that an appeals court will treat Dr. Serageldin with the fairness he deserves under Egyptian law. Yet we are concerned that is has come to this point, and we urge you to monitor the situation closely to ensure that justice prevails in this case.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Magdy Abdel Ghaffar
Minister of Interior
Fifth Settlement, New Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2794 5529 +2027927189
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or E.HumanRightsSector@moi.gov.eg
Laila Bahaa Eldin
Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche el-Nile, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2574 9713