Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dear Friends,
Nour was not released yesterday,on the occasion of the 23rd of July revolution, among 1578 prisoners who were pardoned, and who included those convicted of crimes such as murder and torture.
11 of his supporters, who tried to visit him in prison on the "open day visit" yesterday morning were detained by the security, kept in the heat inside closed trucks and thrown in the desert end of the day.
Others who gathered at the Prosecutor's office calling for his and his supporters' release were beaten up and forced to leave.
Although all prisoners recieve, according to prison's laws and regulations, at least 4 visitors, I was the only visitor allowed at 1 pm tuesday. He declared a hunger strike condeming what happened to members of his party and supporters and gave me a copy from a one-page letter to President Mubarak, which he sent through the authorities earlier, and the following Press Release. He extends his gratitude to every person who has expressed rejection to what he is suffering and called for his freedom and asked me to personally thank everyone who had the courage to talk loud and write couragesouly against the brutal procedures and the continuous retaliation process against him.
May God protect you and your family from oppression and injustice, Regards, Gameela

In a statement from prison, Tuesday 22nd of July: Ayman Nour: "I am now detained by virtue of a Presidential Decree!!"

Presidential Decree pardoning prisoners who have served half their sentence on 23 July benefits convicts of 60 crimes that include espionage, murder, torture, insulting religion, raising prices, monopoly, false testimony. Ayman Nour is excepted from the pardon.

The Interior Ministry, the Prisons' Department and the administrations of 40 prisons were notified yesterday of the presidential decree pardoning the prisoners how have served half their sentences on 23rd July 2008. Article 3 of the Presidential Decree stated that the pardon does not apply to those deemed to be dangerous to public security and those –as is the case with Dr. Ayman Nour, leader of the Al-Ghad party and the number 2 presidential candidate in Egypt's first and last presidential election- charged with forgery. Nour was sentenced to five years on charges of forging some of the powers of attorney used to establish the Al-Ghad party in 2003 days following the mentioned election. The Political Parties Law requires the submission of 50 powers of attorney, at least half of which are workers and farmers, from those applying to establish political parties.

Nour issued a statement from his prison describing the Presidential Decree as a clear decision of detention against Nour from the source of the Decree, the President. He pointed out that it no longer makes sense to talk about the President not interfering with the Judiciary. When he issued the Decree, the President knew that serving sentences is subject to pardon after half the term of the sentence, a custom in Egypt since such decisions were issued by the Ottoman ruler on each religious feast.

Nour affirmed that the crimes excluded from the pardon are always those related to drug trafficking and espionage. The latter was eliminated from the list of excluded crimes in order to release spy Azzam Azzam.

In his statement Nour pointed out that the majority of pardon decrees during the rule of President Mubarak did not previously state that forgery is excluded from the pardon as is the case this year. These are Presidential Decrees 265 of 1997 published in issue 32 of the official gazette on 7/8/1997; 303 of 1998 published in issue 38 of the official gazette on 17/9/1998; 305 of 1999 published in issue 39 of the official gazette on 30/9/1999; 333 of 2000 published in issue 32 of the official gazette on 10/8/200 and other decrees which did not exclude forgery from the pardoned crimes!!

The statement denied any justification of this exclusion related to public interest or the seriousness of the crime as the pardon includes more serious crimes, such as murder, espionage, corruption, gambling, usury, and insulting religion, as well as endangering places of worship, raising prices, monopolies and false testimonies!!

Turrah prison, south of Cairo, Ayman Nour


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