Ayman and Jacques

Below the jump is a translation of a letter from Ayman Nour on his treatment at Tura prison. I reproduce it on the context of tomorrow's visit by Jacques Chirac to Cairo, which Human Rights Watch says would be the perfect opportunity to bring up the Nour case and other human rights issues.

More generally, it's really rather disappointing that France, which has a traditional leadership role in the Arab world, hasn't made more public noise about political reform. I'm no fan of the Bush administration and its policy in the region, but I do think it has done one thing right, even if it might be for the wrong reasons, in putting Arab reform on its diplomatic agenda. It'd be nice for Europeans to do the same (not just the European parliament, which everybody ignores), and they might even be more successful in pushing reform than Americans.


Call from Ayman Nour to All Human Rights Organizations

To: Human Rights Organizations
From: Dr. Ayman Nour, prisoner at the Tura Mazara'a General Prison

I would like to inform you that I have been subject to serious violations of my human and Constitutional rights prescribed in articles 47, 42, 57, 68, 45, 63 and 66. Moreover, the Prisons' Authority has violated article 184 of the Constitution, articles 2 and 81 of the Prisons' Law and articles 61 and 64 of the Prisons' Regulations as follows:

1. I was prevented from writing, a violation of the Constitutional right to expression guaranteed to all citizens (article 47 of the Constitution).
2. My papers and correspondence were confiscated without justification or grounds in violations to article 36 of the Constitution.
3. My articles were confiscated on the ground that they criticize the ruling party and Zakariya Azmy, a violation of the Constitution's description of the Police Authority in article 184.
4. Hisham Fuad, deputy of the prison warden, filed administrative report number 40, 41 dated 6 April 2006 where he falsely claimed that I had suicide intentions. This claim may represent a possibility that I will be made to seem like I have committed suicide or receive threats against my life (a violation of my Constitutional right to life).
5. AIDS, tuberculosis and scabies patients were placed next door to my room at the prison hospital. The same nurses, tools, soldiers and doctors are assigned to the two rooms. There are also mosquitoes which risks spreading the infections.
6. The claims I have written with the intention of submitting them to the Administrative Judiciary were confiscated in a violation to the right to litigation (article 68 of the Constitution).
7. My right to exchange correspondence with my lawyers and family is restricted in a violation of article 81 of the Prison's Regulations.
8. Complaints I had written to the South Cairo Prosecution were confiscated thus depriving me of my natural right to address the authorities (article 63 of the Constitution).
9. I was deprived of the right to visits and correspondence in a violation of article 64 of the Prisons' Regulations.
10. Iron cuffs were placed on my wrists in a violation of article 2 of the Prisons' Law. Also, my Constitutional right to physical safety in accordance with article 42 of the Constitution was breached.

For all of the above reasons, I am urgently requesting the following:
1. Sending an inspection committee –supported by permission from Public Prosecution- to the prison.
2. Notify all those concerned with human rights, the media and the Prosecutor General.
3. Demand a return of my confiscated papers, my Constitutional right to writing and expression, as well as allowing visits.
4. Demand the questioning of those responsible of the violations committed against me and threatening my physical safety and life, as well as calling upon all those concerned to stand in the face of this cruel attack which jeopardizes my life.

Dr. Ayman Abdel-Aziz Nour
Monday, 17 April 2006
General Tura Mazaraa Prison,
South Cairo
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.