An Egyptian official said in remarks published Thursday that Cairo will not let the United States dictate its policies or allow any interference in the case of a detained US-Egyptian rights activist.
"We will not sell our political decisions to gratify greater powers, even America," said the unnamed "high-ranking Egyptian official source" quoted in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
The source added that Egypt "has not and will not allow any state to interfere in the case of the Ibn Khaldun Center," whose director Saadeddin Ibrahim has been detained since June 30th without formal charges.
Ibrahim, a US and Egyptian national and professor at the American University in Cairo, has been informally accused of having contacts with US intelligence services and receiving illegal funding from abroad.
Washington has raised Ibrahim's case repeatedly in recent weeks, calling on Egyptian authorities to release him unless it brings charges against him.
"(Ibrahim) is an Egyptian citizen subject to Egyptian laws. We're not interested in any other nationality he may carry. That's his concern," said the official, quoted by Al-Hayat.
"American nationality will not pardon Ibrahim's offences if the law convicts him," the official said, while adding that Cairo would welcome his innocence if he is found not guilty.
But the source said a "crisis" between Egypt and the United States which has flared since the publication of a column in The New York Times on August 1 harshly critical of Egypt's position on the peace process and the Ibrahim case was "not deep-rooted."
"Official Egypt will not respond to the obscenities written by American journalists in their newspapers," the source said.
Egyptian newspapers responded angrily to the article by columnist Thomas Friedman who put Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the dock with an imaginary letter from US President Bill Clinton, complaining that Washington was getting nothing back for more than two billion dollars of annual aid to Egypt.
The official said prosecutors investigating the case of the Ibn Khaldun Center for democracy and human rights will "soon" transfer Ibrahim and other detainees to the courts - CAIRO (AFP)
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