The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

A pardon for Nour?

I forgot to post this last week, but readers may be interested in reading a letter by Ayman Nour's family to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2005 presidential elections, in which he came a distant second from Hosni Mubarak and most probably caused him to be sentenced to jail on 25 December of the same year. In the letter, fully reproduced below, President Mubarak is appealed to grant Nour a pardon. Previously Nour had refused to petition Mubarak for an appeal, and I am still not sure whether the administrative legwork to file for a pardon has been done or whether this a more informal, moral appeal.

It's worth noting that US President Bush recently called for Nour's release, as have opposition MPs in Egypt.

Letter from Ayman Nour on the anniversary of the 2005 presidential elections.

This week marks the anniversary of the first presidential elections in Egypt's history which took place on September 7, 2005. This week also Dr. Ayman Nour, leader of Al-Ghad party and the second candidate according to the results of the presidential elections, almost completes one year in prison for allegedly having forged Al-Ghad party powers-of-attorney.
We receive both events with contradicting feelings due to the severe deterioration in Nour's health after having suffered coronary artery, diabetes and high blood pressure complications. Thus, continuing to enforce the five-year sentence would represent a death sentence to Nour, a matter organized by Article 36 of the law governing prisons which deals with release for medical reasons. This issue is also governed by Article 149 of the Egyptian Constitution which entitles the President exclusive authority to grant pardon or reduce the sentence.
Dear Sir,
Today there are people celebrating the one year anniversary of the election considering it a sign of democratic progress. There are also those who believe it useful for the President to use the exclusive authority vested in him by the Constitution by suspending the penalty or considering the year Nour spent in prison sufficient due to the extremely hard conditions, the unjust and harsh treatment he was subjected to. It has become clear that those who wish to show their ability in serving the regime are focusing on harassing Nour through depriving him of his basic human right guaranteed by the Constitution and the Prisons Law.
It is enough to point out the decision to prevent him from writing in a clear violation of the Constitution, the law and prison regulations. He was also prevented from receiving treatment and having an urgent artery operation at his own expense. Moreover, he is under 24-hour surveillance in prison, prevent from movement and correspondence in violation of the law and prison regulations. He is also prevented from receiving the special food for his health condition from outside the prison which led him to go on hunger strike more than once in objection. The Administrative Judiciary Court is also considering a number of relevant lawsuits, the decision related to the first of which is expected on 26 September.
We appeal to you for immediate intervention to save Ayman Nour's life and for a wise call for a stance that takes all the conditions of the case, which we do not wish to go into now and which are known to everyone, into consideration.
We are not asking to give Nour an equal treatment as singers, artists and others. We only call for observing the circumstances, harms and health risks and respond to a request submitted to the President months ago by 110 current parliament representatives to release Nour through a Presidential Decree in accordance with the Constitution.
The President's response at this time in particular to the request of about one-third of the parliament representing the nation has major implications. It is worth calling for and moving to achieve to save the life of an Egyptian citizen who, on 7 September 2005, obtained over half a million votes.
Dear Sir,
We address this message to you due to our confidence in your sincere patriotism and your ability to make an effort in line with the dedication we know you enjoy to your convictions and the ideas you adopt that transcend political and party differences.
We hope the God grants success to you efforts on our behalf.
Ayman Nour's small and larger families