Senior Rights Activists to Attend Last Session of MB Military Tribunal

Senior Rights Activists to Attend Last Session of MB Military Tribunal

Senior international human rights activists will attend the last session of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) military tribunal on Monday, February 11, 2008 . Cindy Sheehan, Walter A. Fauntroy, Mahdi Bray and Tiffany Burn will arrive in Cairo on Sunday to participate in several activities after attending Monday”s session.

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Deputy Chief Khayrat El Shater, and 39 others, are being tried before a military tribunal on allegations of money laundering and ties to terrorism.

Despite the fact that four civilian courts previously ordered the immediate release of the detainees, finding the charges made against them by the notorious state security apparatus to be, “groundless, fabricated and politically motivated with no substantial evidence whatsoever,” on February 5, 2007, President Hosni Mubarak ordered the detainees” cases transferred, leaving their fate in the hands of a military tribunal.

Journalists, human rights activists and international observers have been denied access to the tribunal sessions, where it is believed severe violations have taken place. Several reports assert that the tribunal”s judge has already received the verdicts from the presidential palace, verdicts that have been changed 3 times, depending on varying political conditions.

News of the tribunal proceedings against Muslim Brotherhood leaders has drawn mounting international attention throughout the year-long process, culminating with the arrival of an international array of human rights activists poised to attend Monday”s final session where defense attorneys will present their closing arguments.

U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will be in Cairo participate in peaceful protests condemning the continued judicial and human rights violations faced by detained MB leaders subjected to military tribunal despite prior judicial decisions in their favor.

Sheehan, a mother turned anti-war activist after her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, drew international media attention when she staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the Texas ranch of U.S. President George Bush calling for an end to the war in Iraq. Sheehan”s protest prompted support from the likes of Linux Yearwood, the Latin Congregation leader, who referred to her as the second Rosa Parks in fighting the war. By the end of Sheehan”s five weeks at “Casey”s Camp”, media had dubbed her, “The Mother of Peace”.

In January 2005 Sheehan co-founded Golden Star Families for Peace to call for an end to the U.S. presence in Iraq and in support of families who have lost loved ones deployed to serve in Iraq .  At least 63 relatives of US soldiers killed in Iraq joined the organization.

Accompanying Sheehan in Cairo will be good friend and associate, Tiffany Burn, a U.S.-based media figure, former U.S. Congressman Walter A. Fauntroy, an MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray.

Fauntroy is a world-renown civil and human rights activist, who served, under former President Lyndon B. Johnson as vice chairman of the White House Conference to Fulfill These Rights, vice chairman of the City Council of the District of Columbia, and was also appointed by Martin Luther King, Jr. as Director of the Washington Bureau of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was also one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and in 1977, founded the National Black Leadership Roundtable for leaders of National African American organizations.

Mahdi Bray is a life-long civil rights activist serving as Executive Director of MAS Freedom, the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS). He is also a member of the U.S. Islamic Council and advisor to the D.C.-based Interfaith Coalition. Bray has led numerous protests and marches, including several anti-war marches in front of the White House.

Violette Dagherre, the chairperson of the Arab Commission for Human Rights, arrived in Cairo last Thursday to attend Monday”s tribunal proceeding, and plans to meet Egypt “s First Lady, Suzan Mubarak, the Interior Minister and other key figures, with the hope of compelling them to support referring the MB case back to civil justice.