Tuesday, March 3, 2009
By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
"CAIRO, Mar 3 (IPS) - Magdi Hussein, secretary-general of Egypt's suspended Socialist Labour Party, has been sentenced to two years in prison by a military tribunal. Hussein, along with two others, was charged with "infiltrating" into the Gaza Strip following Israel's recent campaign against the coastal enclave.
Protests against his arrest continue to be ineffective.
"It was an illegitimate, vindictive sentence, for which there is no moral or legal excuse," Gamal Fahmi, managing editor of opposition weekly Al-Arabi Al- Nassiri, and board member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate told IPS.
Hussein was arrested by Egyptian authorities Feb. 1 while returning to Egypt via the Rafah crossing, the sole transit point along Egypt's 14-kilometre border with the Gaza Strip. Hussein was on his way back from a week-long visit to the territory, still reeling from Israel's military campaign from Dec. 27 to Jan. 17.
"People are free to travel from one country to another," Hussein told independent daily Al-Dustour shortly after his arrest. "When did it become a crime to visit our besieged Arab brethren?"......."