Human rights organizations urged Egyptian authorities Sunday to release a leading liberal sociologist, calling his arrest "a kind of terrorism," reported The Associated Press.
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociology professor at the American University in Cairo, was detained Friday night with three of his assistants and later ordered detained for 15 days and transferred Cairo's Liman Tora prison, said the agency.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said in a statement Sunday that the arrests are "generally connected to the state's desire to silence all establishments that are trying to participate in the country's public life."
The human rights group "has strong suspicions that the state is practicing a kind of terrorism against civil societies to stop their initiatives in the field of defending human rights or supporting democracy, or participating in economic, social and political development," said the agency.
The Cairo-based Arab Organization for Human Rights called for Ibrahim's immediate release, saying it fears his imprisonment is related to his ideas and work, the AP said.
While Egyptian authorities often detain rights activists, it is rare that an academic of Ibrahim's standing is arrested.
A quiet-spoken champion of human rights, Ibrahim runs the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, a Cairo think tank, and is often interviewed and quoted by foreign journalists. He is also on the board of directors of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, a government-funded think tank.
For years, Ibrahim has criticized Arab governments for their lack of democracy and discrimination against minorities.
In Egypt, he called for greater opportunities for the country's Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country's 64 million people, according to the agency - Albawaba.com
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