Al-Quds Al-'Arabi THE MEDIA LINE
16 - March - 2009
Around 200 activists say the two officials should face legal action over what they are calling crimes against humanity because of their torture of political prisoners, a report in the London-based Al-Quds Al-'Arabi said.
The activists belong to several U.S.-based political organizations and are planning protests ahead of Mubarak's visit to the White House next month.
The signatories want the U.S. to use its political clout to pressure Cairo into improving its human-rights record.
The petition comes on the heels of an unprecedented indictment issued by the ICC at the beginning of the month against Sudanese President 'Umar Al-Bashir for crimes committed in the Darfur region.
The arrest warrant against Al-Bashir was the first of its kind to be issued against a sitting head of state.
It was anticipated that this would embolden opposition groups worldwide to try to take leaders believed to be involved in war crimes to the ICC.
Mubarak is also facing heat over recent sectarian tension between Muslims and Copts which resulted in violent clashes last week.
He will not want these incidents to draw attention to Cairo's treatment of religious minorities.
Human-rights organizations are accusing Mubarak's government of discriminating against Copts, who comprise around 10 percent of the country's 80 million inhabitants, constituting the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Egypt has already been criticized by the U.S. for not doing enough to stop the smuggling of weapons and illicit materials from its territory into the Gaza Strip.
Cairo has an interest in not angering the Americans, as Egypt is the recipient of considerable aid from the U.S.