Monday, December 14, 2009

Ayman Nour: The Parallel President

Ayman Nour

Freedom supporters in Egypt are urgently invited to read the following scenario, add their inputs, and get prepared: Mubarak senior or junior goes to the presidential election committee of Heliopolis district in September 2011 to submit his candidacy papers. He will not find the road clean from the supporters of other candidates, particularly the ones who the regime wants to exclude from the competition, upon illegal and undemocratic practices covered by the law.

The hypothetical scene on the morning of submitting candidacy papers, should be as follows: The headquarters of the presidential elections, which is based in a building in heliopolis, across the road from the War College, will mark the unprecedented turnout of supporters for all candidates, regardless of their political affiliations.

The supporters of El-Ghad party, in 2005 “forged” elections, were more than three quarter million of people! Some of them, in 2011, will accompany their candidate while he submits the candidacy papers. They will gather peacefully to express their opinion for the international and local public opinion.

The supporters of some independent candidates (e.g. Dr. Mohamed Elbaradie or Muslim Brotherhood candidate) or candidates of parties threatened by exclusion (e.g. El-Gabha Party) with claim that they started less than five years ago, and others will gather outside the committee headquarters to support the right of their candidates to join the race for presidential seat.

The horrible scene out there will not be the demonstrations or clashes, but the “unexpected” response to article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution, which stipulates that the candidate should be supported by at least 250 members of local municipal councils, Shoura Council, and People’s Assembly; provided that 10 of the supporters must be representing municipal councils in at least 14 governorates.

The presence of people at the election committee will not be artificial for popular pressure. It is also meant to be an execution to article 11 of law 174/2005 of organizing presidential elections; which stipulates that “supporting the candidate is allowed according to the model stated by the presidential elections committee.” In other words, the presence of supporters here is obligatory to know the model they should follow and respond to the committee.

It is also essential that the presidential committee should accept the papers of candidates regardless of the obstacles, according to articles 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 of presidential elections law. The committee should announce in two daily newspapers the names of all candidates who submitted their papers even before checking their submissions to see if they meet the candidacy conditions or not. This will give an opportunity to supporters of each candidate to wait for few days outside the headquarters of the committee before the final decision is made; i.e. approval or disapproval on candidacy papers.

The whole world should see the odyssey of steadfastness and determination made by the bare hands of people who will enforce their historical right to informed choice.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Ayman Nour invites El Baradei to form a constitutional convention

In his article today, Ayman Nour invites former IAEA chief, Mohamed El Baradei, to join Nour’s nation-wide door-knocking campaign. He also invites him to start a national campaign in order to establish a constitutional convention to draft a new constitution for the country. Here are the 3 basic suggestions Nour offers to El Baradei:

  1. I invite Dr.El Baradei to participate with us, as an Egyptian reformer, in the door-knocking campaign. It started last April as a nonpartisan nationwide campaign aiming at spreading the ideas of reform and change through direct contact with the people. He is invited to lead the campaign’s second phase starting next February. In the first phase we’ve visited nearly 20 governorates and 30 major cities. The second phase will include weekly visits to the countryside population centers.
  2. El Baradei is asked, as a law professor, to adopt a public campaign to form a national constitutional convention whose task is to draft a new constitution supported and signed by the people to achieve what we hope, and what El Baradei does, along with all political forces, for a constitution for a modern Egypt.
  3. We call upon Dr.El Baradei to modify what was labelled in the media as ‘pre-conditions to run for presidency’ to ‘national rights and demands’.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ayman Nour Biography

Ayman Nour

Ayman Nour was born on the 5 th of December 1964 to a father who was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament (MP) and a mother who established and supervised a number of charity projects in his birth town Mansurah.

He started his political career as a student activist during high school and University; and was elected as President for the Egyptian High School Students’ Union in 1980.

He won several awards in photography, school journalism & many other activities.

He graduated at Law School (Mansurah University) & started his career in journalism in the 80s, in one of the most famous opposition newspapers called “El Wafd” after “El Wafd Party” the oldest liberal party in Egypt. He was married to Gamila Ismail, who was a TV presenter, a political activist and who became his spokeswoman later on.

Nour's main concern was torture & corruption cases which led to his arrest & exposure to physical violence several times during his press campaigns.

Ayman Nour interviewed a number of arab world leaders like Yasser Arafat.
He wrote a number of books like “Liberalism is the solution” in 1992 compared to the famous Islamic slogan “Islam is the solution”.

He wrote as well “The Black Soldier : Zaki Badr” who was at that time the Egyptian Interior Minister.

He received his Ph.D. degree in “History of Law” from Russia in 1995. Then he ran for parliamentary elections and won to become the MP representing “El Wafd” liberal party in an electoral district in the center of Cairo called Bab el Sha’rea.

Till now he is considered the youngest member in the history of the Egyptian Parliament as he had been elected only few days after I had reached the legal age for nomination.

As a Parliament member ( 1995 – 2005 ) he exposed lots of corruption cases, proposed a large number of laws, amended & monitored many International treaties which involved Egypt , stood against random laws, supported civil rights , visited many parliaments around the world & won many awards for his honorable parliamentary performance on both national & international levels.

In 2003, he demanded a war crime trial for George W. Bush & Tony Blair for the invasion of Iraq without the UN permission.

He was re-elected for Parliament in 2000 announcing his intention for running for presidency after having 186 votes in the internal parliamentary elections (more than the third of the parliament which was in this time the main condition for being a presidential candidate) but then one year later he was dismissed from “El Wafd” party together with many of his colleagues in Parliament & began establishing their own political liberal movement called “Al Ghad” i.e. "Tomorrow" in 2003.

In 2002 he wrote a political & economical platform for Egypt’s problems in a book called (Modern Egypt in 2020) which later on became the basis for “Al Ghad party” policy.

In 2003 he launched with his fellows a large political campaign to attract Egyptian youth & society elite to political life based on the old Egyptian liberal values of “Al Ghad movement “such as “tolerance” , “human rights”, “third way free market”, while respecting Egyptian & islamic traditions.

In 2004 after a lot of pressure on the government (by thousands of founders, demonstrations & well written platforms handed to the Court ) the Egyptian government finally gave the legal license for the foundation of “Al Ghad” party (announcing in the government-controlled public media that it was an underhanded deal).

The Party then called for presidential elections instead of the old fashioned presidential referendum.

Because of his calls for constitutional reforms as regards the presidential elections, he was targeted by the Egyptian regime when 3 months later he was accused of falsifying official documents related to “Al Ghad” party.

His parliamentary immunity was terminated in a 30 minutes session & he was brutally dragged to jail while coming out of the Parliament building.

Days later President Mubarak announced constitutional reforms that will allow other candidates to run in the 2005 elections against him. So he submitted his nomination papers from inside the prison & the government released him to run for the Presidential elections.

In only 28 days, he carried out his election propaganda campaign where he visited almost all districts of Egypt holding conferences in each one. He was subjected to a heavy smear campaign by the government-controlled media & newspapers accusing him of being an American ally.

Finally he came second in the elections by officially taking 540000 votes (8%) compared to Mubarak who has been in power since 1981, who took 6 000 000 votes.

After the presidential elections he was put once again in jail in a trial described by many observers as an unfair trial under the control of a famous judge – the one who sent Dr.Saad el Din Ibrahim to prison few years before.

He was sentenced for 5 years in prison for “knowing about the falsified papers” & months later one of the imprisoned partners in this case was found hanged in his cell (was said to have committed suicide ) a day after his announcement that he had been intimidated by the State Security to force him to lie during his confession.

In prison he was forbidden all his rights including the right to communicate through writing and seeing other prisoners, even the right for health care which led to a lot of health problems later on.

In February 2009 – 4 months earlier than the date for his legal release from prison the government set him free (announcing once again that it was another deal between him & the regime ).

After being set free in 2009 he launched a new campaign called “Knocking the doors” to complete the visits he had started in 2005 to Egyptian towns & cities ,, & even to millions of Egyptians living outside Egypt in Europe , US & in the Gulf region.

Now, when he is supposed to be a free man, he is prevented from earning his living by resuming my job as a lawyer, or dealing with his bank accounts, or selling his property and finally he has been banned from traveling abroad.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ahmed Amar comment on BikyaMasr

Was a free man touring and flying in the sky, maneuvering and engage in dialogue, invalidate his intelligence on the spectrum of prey for upholding the right to
Sky country, which Amtlait corruption until he received a dream day and has the right to dream the dream,

it belongs to Falcon troublemaker contested space and the eagle in his kingdom, which occupied Bjbroch and power and tried to defend the site you Vdhaih solvency Eagle corruption and the assassination of the dreams of the rest of the birds and the determination to fight the battle

Falcon-style space-Sharif and offset Eagle all methods of deception and deceit and even highlighted by owls and crows to Inhishoa in his and did not leave a door in the deception, but it has been opened, and because a single Vhzmh Hawk Eagle of corruption and vote rigging toward economic because they do not powerless Falcon did not escape the eagle ..

commanded him to be incarcerated and isolated from the flight and the opinion of Falcon all forms of humiliation in his prison after he was a free man in outer space and prejudice against himself for a principle and the issue of Vdhaih site you want to purging of raptors Alnahph for the rights of other vulnerable birds until he came out he was sick of Aigoi the birds and because the eagle security Pferman himself and his decision to prevent Falcon Mnatahth rule space,

and the Falcon was trying to pick up desperate measures to continue flying and resisted the disease, and try again after another until recovery and when he tries to fly to the stage behind him and sends owls and crows to check on how it is measured in order to prepare him if completed healing time for elections,

the king of space every day Ivdad Falcon Guo and Ivdad number of crows that try to be thwarted by his determination and less even recovered from his illness and flew and flew and landed to the city he loves and is loved birds because he knows she loves him and interact with the birds in friendly love and discuss with them and teach them the realities of things and saw the truth of the meanings of words and committing themselves to support him as they were by his side at first and he left Falcon to return to his residence,

a joy is happy because he is supported in part by the Muslim Brotherhood ahead, if it is allowed to log on again and breathed a sigh of relief because he understood how much he is loved by birds, which supported the weak and will support him every step of the will to fly to fight Eagle hawk that Egyptian policy, Dr. Ayman Nour .. every year is a good people of Alexandria congratulates him happy birthday .. Ahmed Ammar, head of the labor movement democracy

Ayman Nour: Thank you Baradei for keeping my chasers occupied

In Egypt, when you oppose the regime, you will be labeled as either ignorant, a fool, or a hypocrite! If you introduced yourself as an alternative to the head of the regime, you will be labeled as either a criminal or a murderer! Opposing gods would bring their curse and anger upon you. But opposing the regime would shed your blood, lead you to death, and make you an example to scare whoever dares to do what you have done. Opposing the regime is disliked, but competing as an alternative is a big deal that shakes the seven heavens.
When Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei released a statement on his “faraway intentions” to run for presidency seat, the heat came up higher. The pro-regime journalists and media started an immediate urgent campaign of moral assassination of Elbaradie. They started only a few hours after the statement was released. They were referring to him as a reason of pride to the country, they are laughing at him with claim that he is a stranger who spent 28 years outside Egypt. They even accused him of being a spy for the United States of America and its regional ally. Then, they started looking for the other nationalities that Elbaradei might have; some claimed American and some others claimed Swedish!
In less than a minute, the Egyptian citizen, Mohamed Elbaradei turned into half citizen, or quarter of a citizen, or a few remains of a citizen. They made him a foolish student of Botrous Ghali, untalented employee who lacks experience on internal problems of Egypt, and above all a spy to other countries abroad!
I will not commit the foolishness of the pro-regime press. I will not listen to the intense statements of state officials and regime men against Elbaradie. I can understand this horrible process of mental assassination. I have been there before!
In 2000, I announced my intention to run for presidency during a TV interviewed with my late colleague and friend Magdi Mehanna. Before that date, the state-run media outlets used to interview me, almost daily, as a patriotic opposition figure. They used me as a proof of the understanding of the regime, who would accept those who say “no” sometimes; except for gods of course!
I won 168 votes (more than one third of votes) at the internal elections of parliament in 2000, and subsequently fulfilled the provision of article 76 of the Egyptian constitution, which was amended later in 2005. As soon as I won the votes, I found myself in hell. The first burn came from El-Wafd Party which, all of a sudden, cancelled my membership and removed me from my work as a journalist in El-Wafd newspaper.
When my wife ran in the elections of the Shura Council in 2001 against the leader, the details of the new era had been already established. We faced the widest process of forgery and violence, upon the demands of the big boss, as we were told!
Suddenly, they turned me from a good citizen and a patriotic Member of Parliament for ten years into an unpatriotic person with a wealth from unsuspected sources. I wonder where this wealth they are talking about is.
In the presidential elections of 2005, the regime fabricated a naïve and funny legal case against me. The official wing of the supreme authority was directly involved, while other authority tools were busy with assassinating me in cold blood. They are not done yet!
The fools of the regime are not ashamed of spreading rumors and lies about me. They claimed that my father is not my father! They said that I escaped military service, although I am a single child. Some had great ability for imagination. They claimed that I was a soldier in the US army during Vietnam War, although I was born in 1964.
Many thanks for Dr. Elbaradei for keeping the authorities, who were chasing me for years, busy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Amr Hamzawy : Egypt's Opposition Misled by Fixation with Mubarak’s Son

Amr Hamzawy
The National
1 December 2009

Political opposition in Egypt has been stirred by a recent campaign against Gamal Mubarak, the son of the president Hosni Mubarak, becoming Egypt’s new president in 2011. In particular, Ayman Nour, a key opposition figure and a presidential candidate in 2005, has mobilised a wide spectrum of political groups to present a united front in upcoming legislative and presidential elections in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Upon closer look, however, Mr Nour’s rallying cry is troubling. In gearing up for elections, the opposition has demonstrated a near complete inability to prioritise the issues essential to its political future, and has squandered its efforts trying to prevent Gamal Mubarak’s succession.

Egypt’s opposition groups, including both legal parties and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been in disarray since the regime introduced stifling constitutional amendments in 2007. These measures limit the oversight powers of the judiciary in elections, fail to set term limits on the presidential mandate, and ban religiously affiliated political activities.

While opposition forces have been exclusively focused on the one issue – Gamal Mubarak’s possible ascendancy – the Egyptian regime has been carefully creating an environment which will sustain its rule. The ruling elite is no newcomer to this game. They have consistently manipulated the political process by preventing the opposition from registering candidates in elections, obstructing the campaign process, and fomenting violence on election day.

In contrast to the ruling elite’s clear direction, the opposition has no guiding compass and is left wandering through the challenges posed by the political agenda in Egypt. Their failure cannot be solely attributed to the regime’s repressive measures – a great part of the responsibility belongs to the opposition parties themselves.

Since 2005, parties including the liberal Wafd party, Ayman Nour’s Ghad party and the Democratic Front, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood (which is banned but has de facto representation in parliament) have all failed in two major tasks: formulating an elections platform and clear vision for Egypt’s political development, and applying sufficient pressure on the regime for political and economic reform.

Despite its acquisition of an unprecedented 88 parliamentary seats in the 2005 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood has yet to push for serious reform of the political system. Several concerns also remain unresolved in Egyptian and international public opinion regarding the Brotherhood’s positions on equal citizenship rights for Copts and Muslims, women’s participation in politics and freedom of expression.

The opposition parties urgently need to tackle several issues to position themselves for the 2010 and 2011 elections. First, groups have to clarify their stance on the question of domestic and international monitoring of elections. Especially with regard to the latter, the opposition remains divided.

Second, they have to prioritise calls for the abolition of the emergency law in effect in Egypt since 1981. Finally, parties should be more attuned to new political opportunities, expanding grassroots activities to capitalise on growing protest sentiment among wide segments of the population who are suffering from deteriorating social and economic conditions.

With Egypt’s declining GDP growth, the unemployment rate reaching 10.3 per cent, a poverty rate of 20 per cent, and an alarming level of debt – 76 per cent of GDP – citizens are in desperate need of competent political parties.

The implications of the upcoming elections will, of course, extend beyond Egypt’s borders. In light of the regime’s recent political manoeuvring and the opposition’s stagnation, the 2010 and 2011 elections in Egypt will test the Obama administration’s stance on democracy in the Middle East. Its position will either demonstrate a commitment to the incumbent regime of the Mubaraks as a strategic ally in a turbulent region regardless of its domestic behaviour, or signal pressure to create better conditions for democratic reform and political competition in Egypt.

The first signals from the Obama administration are not encouraging; the administration has so far put the promotion of democracy low on its list of priorities. Washington has only raised the issue of reform in the context of concessions that Mr Mubarak has already made. The Obama administration has also cut aid to numerous actors and organisations in civil society.

The campaign organised by Mr Nour is a step in the right direction for the opposition in Egypt, but he and other activists would be wise to adjust their agenda. Only by letting go of their obsession with Gamal Mubarak’s succession and addressing other issues at the core of the upcoming elections can opposition groups counter the regime’s hegemony.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ayman Nour: A visit to Gaza

Ayman Nour

After the conclusion of the official reception of my trip with Amr Mousa to Gaza on the occasion of opening the first session of the Palestinian National Council, I received an invitation from a Palestinian Member of Parliament to attend a meeting at the Social Club of Gaza. His name, as far as I remember was Hamadah El-Fara’ena.

In that meeting, I was introduced to a high profile group of Palestinian leaders who belong to the Intifada generation. The most prominent among them were Marawan Barghouthy from the Fatah movement, Abdul Khalek Al Natshah from Hamas, in addition to some other independent political activists.

In the meeting, I had a feeling that I am seeing a different Palestine, unlike the one I left in despair at Arafat’s house, which I sneaked out of to attend the activists’ meeting. There, I saw a real image of the fire burning inside Palestine! I was transformed from a cold conversation at Arafat’s house about personal memories on public and private meetings and phone calls to a real hot debate on the future of Palestine, criticizing the newborn presidency, constitution, and Oslo 1993.

I was an eyewitness to the exchange of serious accusations between liberal and independent leaders. They mentioned the absence of transparency and democracy. They were preoccupied by the involvement of the Palestinian Authority with the ill mechanisms of building the state via importing the worst examples of ruling regimes in the Arab world. They did not want individualism, monopoly, and corruption to be the pillars of establishing the newborn state. They also had big doubts regarding the injustice of diplomatic developments.

The representatives of Hamas, in the meeting, discussed the fragile balance indicated in Oslo and described it as a “domination peace!” This term stole my ears and I could not forget it until I read it again in Raymond Irawan’s book Paixet Guenne Entx Leanationa in 2004.
I saw the power of the Intifada removing the accumulated clouds of division and weakness in the sky of Palestinian national unity. It strengthened hope in reaching a comprehensive and unified solution.

Israel succeeded in planting a burning cord into the powder keg, by involving Arafat, and later, Abbas, into transformational phases, which gave the Israeli side more space to impose a negative rhythm on the development of social movements. They ran into signing conventions based on the logic of steps and testing the ability of the newborn authority to guarantee Israel security – or rather, suppressing Islamist radicals and secularists.

The internal crisis of Palestine cannot be reduced to the conflict between Fattah and Hamas, or illusionary (made in USA) groups of “moderates” and “extremists.” This is a mere echo of the naïve division of the world into the “Empire of Good” and the “Empire of Evil” by Reagan in his infamous Orlando Florida speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983. The same concept came to the surface once again by Bush after the September 11 attacks.

My evidence on the inaccuracy of this reduction of the internal Palestinian crisis to a conflict between moderates and extremists is that the majority of Palestinian politicians who participated in the aforementioned meeting are in jail, now.
If we look into the “Prisons” Initiative launched by Marawan Barghouthy of Fatah and Abdul Khalek Al Natshah of Hamas, we realize that the Palestinian-Palestinian conflict is not a conflict between moderation and extremism. It is a conflict between two views of managing a homeland which is not found yet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ayman Nour: Human dignity in Egypt

Like cows, chickens, rabbits and ants, the blood of Egyptian people is cheap, and their dignity is valueless. Why Egyptians were insulted in the Gulf, died in Iraq, and got abused in Libya, Lebanon and most recently beaten in Sudan? Why harming an Egyptian is a crime without punishment; an easy action with no reaction?
Is it because we are good, sensitive, and religious? Like soda, we rise up in a moment and calm down in the next moment! Is it because we are a nation of giving without limitations and taking nothing, eating nothing, having no place to sleep, or live and then thank God for the grace?
The physical attack by some Algerians against Egyptians in Sudan, last week, is not an incident, but a result of many previous incidents in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, and Jordan. Why, then, should we be so angry against Algeria?
Why should we be so angry against any of those who insulted us? Absolutely, it is our fault and not their mistake. We have lost our honor when we gambled on the sincerity of others and forgot to preserve our dignity within our homeland.
Wherever you go in the Arab world, hurtful words are poured like dirty water over our heads accompanied by the tales of Egyptian labor without any reaction from our embassies, which always take disgusting and shameful stance towards such insult.
Speaking of Egypt as the big sister and the heart of the Arab world is nothing but verbal eloquence, which today’s world cannot understand. The discourse of the weight of Egypt no longer exists. Egyptian weight is measured by its political and economic power. It is measured by neither its huge population nor the years of service and long age of its president.
The powerful and the rich are the real rulers of this era. They can force the whole world to respect them, regardless of the rules of national compassion, the similarity of blood type, and the relationship to the descent Sibawayh.
It does not matter at all; the amendments made by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior on the Egyptian passport, by making it lighter, smaller, and well protected against falsification. The fact that this passport represents prestige and respect in the eyes of others is what really matters. That is if the Egyptian people seeking dignity can find it in their homeland first.
Egyptian communities abroad reflect the situation in their homeland. If the Egyptian citizen is beaten and insulted in his own homeland, what should we expect from strangers, even if those strangers hold the same religious beliefs, the same language, and the same historical background? The Egyptian has gradually turned into a half human, quarter human, and then the remains of a human! And, the remains have no value in the eyes of others.
Egypt is dwelled in by weevils from head to toe and is almost falling down due to its failure in different activities: education, poverty, despotism, and corruption. We no longer have a way-out to save Egypt and Egyptians’ reputation and dignity. Instead, we should burn fire in the forest of weevils, and await the birth of a new tree.
When we are ruled by King «Sun» or Louis IX, who believes that everything in this country is his property, there will be nothing valuable in the country except the king himself. Then, long live the king, and hell takes the rest.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ayman Nour: Public Prosecutor is not Independent, Mr. Aboul Gheit

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, committed a fallacy while commenting on the Public Prosecutor’s decision to prevent me from traveling to the U.S. last week. He stated that “the prosecutor’s decision has nothing to do with the Egyptian government!” Apparently, Aboul Gheit does not know that the Public Prosecutor of Egypt is affiliated with the Egyptian government, not another country. The Public Prosecutor’s office is an essential part of the executive authority headed by President Mubarak, who assigns the public prosecutor via a presidential decree.
Aboul Gheit’s statements from Sharm El-Sheikh encouraged opening a thorny file to answer the critical questions: Does the Egyptian public prosecutor truly represent the social structure including its sectors, parties and various forces? Is the public prosecutor, merely, a crown of the executive authority with its one political color and one party? Is the public prosecutor biased in fulfilling the direct and indirect demands of the head of the executive authority on the expense of the social structure, which the public prosecutor represents?
First of all, let’s examine the mechanism of selecting the Public Prosecutor in Egypt. Despite his unlimited powers, the public prosecutor is not selected or nominated by the General Assembly of the Cassation Court. In other countries across the world, the public prosecutor is hired by the Cassation Court and is usually given a judicial role. In Egypt, it is quite different. In Egypt, article 119 of Law 142/2006 stipulates the necessity of the approval of the Supreme Council of Judiciary on the selection of the Public Prosecutor, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Attorney General, and other members of the Public Prosecution. However, the President of the state – who is also the head of the executive authority – selects the Public Prosecutor with a presidential decree, with complete disregard to the aforementioned approval of Supreme Council of Judiciary.
This statuesque emphasizes the absolute power of the head of the executive committee to hire whoever he wants in this very critical position. Subsequently, neutrality and independence is absent. There is controversy around some cases in the Mubarak era. The most prominent is hiring Councilor Ragae’i El-Arabi, in 1991, as a Public Prosecutor, on the backdrop of his work in the “politically motivated” State Security Prosecution. He was selected for the vital position despite the long line of worthy older names. Another controversial case was that of Maher Abdul Wahed, who did not serve at the Cassation Court or at least as an Assistant Prosecutor or an Attorney General! In one day, he moved from an administrative job at the executive authority, as Assistant Minister of Justice to be the Public Prosecutor!
The Public Prosecutor is not only hired according to the sole order of the head of the executive authority, but was also fired in the same way until recently! The unusual general assembly of Alexandria Judges Club made a resolution to amend article 67 of Law 46/1972 with the purpose to give the Public Prosecutor immunity against dismissal. Yet, this immunity does not mean independence under the applied policies of carrots and sticks!
In Egypt, the absence of neutrality and independence is not limited to selecting the Public Prosecutor. However, they are extended to the roles of the whole judiciary system, including its administrative and financial independence. The Minister of Justice – who is also a member of the executive authority – interferes in the work of the Public Prosecutor. This proves the lack of independence claimed by Aboul Gheit.
Article 62 of Law 46/1972 entitles the Minister of Justice to delegate the members of the Public Prosecution to do additional tasks in different administrative authorities upon monetary compensations. The administrative authority which receives the deputized public prosecutor can dismiss him at any moment. Again, this carrot and stick policy violates the claimed independence of the Public Prosecutor and other members of the Public Prosecution. One of the most flagrant examples is deputizing prosecution members to State Security Affairs, which approves the verdicts and sentences ordered by Emergency Court, which falls under the direct control of both the President of the State, as the military ruler, and the Prime Minister, as the vice military ruler.
During the past few years, the executive authority delegated the members of the Public Prosecution and the assistants of the Minister of Justice to supervise judicial inspection of various prosecutions, the technical office of the Public Prosecutor, heads of Appeal Court and General Attorney office.
The structural independence of the Public Prosecution is also systematically violated. This can be proved by the huge difference between formal legal allotments and actual payments in the form of annual salaries. Since 2004, the margin of difference reached to 234,649,782.2 LE. This huge difference is abused by the executive authority, which has the absolute power of giving or deducting according to the level of obedience by the Public Prosecution.
Other blatant examples of violations include preventing me from traveling and earning my living, monitoring and spying on my private communications, and most importantly refusing to execute legal verdicts for the El-Ghad Party and myself. This is a severe, shameful, double standard policy in the time of unashamed tyranny!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Egyptian Activist Nour Presses For More Rights in Political Process

Ayman Nour giving interview to VOA, 3 Jun 2009Ayman Nour giving interview to VOA (03 Jun 2009)

Egyptian authorities recently banned opposition leader Ayman Nour from traveling to the United States where he was invited to speak to several organizations. While Egyptian authorities say the ban is lawful, Nour's supporters say it is the latest in a series of moves aimed at marginalizing opposition groups ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

Ayman Nour, the main challenger to President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election in 2005, is no stranger to political pressure.

He founded the opposition el Ghad party, created to represent a liberal democratic perspective, with a strong interest in human rights. Nour used the party as a platform to call for constitutional reform, limiting the president's powers and opening presidential elections to multiple candidates.

The opposition leader was recently blocked by Egyptian authorities from traveling to the United States to attend conferences at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and other groups.

The U.S. State Department has called on the Egyptian government to reconsider its ban.

Nour says he has been barred from teaching at any state universities. He says he cannot access his bank accounts and cannot participate as a candidate in any elections. He was also jailed shortly after the 2005 elections on charges of forgery and spent over three years in prison before being released in February in what he describes as a ploy to get him out of politics.

Egyptian authorities say the travel ban was a condition of his early release from prison. Nour disagrees. A lawyer by profession, he says he knows his rights and is not giving up.

He says that opposing political corruption, particularly the kind of corruption he's seen after the elections and since his arrest, is not a choice, but a duty.

Cairo University professor and member of the ruling National Democratic Party's advisory committee Mohamed Kamal rejects Nour's claims and says the politician has plenty of freedom.

"I think there is some exaggeration in these accusations," Kamal said. "Ayman Nour is free to engage in whatever campaign he wants to engage in. He has access to the people. He has access to the media. Maybe the question he doesn't ask himself is whether this cause that he carries the flag (for) is popular among Egyptians or not."

Other opposition groups say they, too, are hampered in their attempts to participate openly in Egyptian political life. Not far from Kamal's office, Muslim Brotherhood students at Cairo University protest moves they say are aimed at keeping them out of the student union elections.

On the national level, the Muslim Brotherhood are banned from officially putting forth candidates for election. The Egyptian constitution forbids political parties based on religion. The group has done well despite the law, with 88 members who ran as independents now in parliament.

According to Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker Akram Shaar, there are concerted efforts by the ruling party to keep opposition groups at bay.

He says everyone ranging from opposition groups, the mainstream and everyday honest citizens who love their country are prevented from taking part in a true and open dialogue. He said they are also prevented from taking part in elections and from having their opinions heard.

In a wider effort to keep up pressure on Egypt's ruling party, Nour joined forces with the Muslim Brotherhood and several other opposition groups to launch a campaign called Did Al-Wirasa, meaning "against inheritance." Its name is a reference to the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, head of the National Democratic Party's policies committee, who is widely seen as being groomed to take over from his father.

Nour says that it is every citizen's right to choose and to be a part of the country's decision-making process. He says the new campaign is aimed at curbing any decisions taken without the people's vote. Nour says people want to choose who rules them.

81-year-old President Mubarak, who has been in power for 28 years, has yet to say if he will seek another six-year term in office. Likewise, his son has not announced his plans. But many believe that what takes place in next year's parliamentary elections will set the tone for what happens in the 2011 presidential vote.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ayman Nour: Egypt opposition versus the government

Egypt is the land of wonders. The first anniversary of the burning the headquarters of the el-Ghad Party coincides with the fifth anniversary of establishing it. I am astonished by the ability of those involved in burning my office to keep their self respect! I wonder how they dare to look right into the eyes of their children, spouses, and the whole of Egyptian society. I dare them to look into my eyes. No matter how mean and liars they are, they cannot stand long.
Some of the criminals, who committed the attack and the burning, claimed that they were in a “nonviolent” protest on Emergency Law. Others claimed that the purpose of the “nonviolent” rally was to condemn the allies of the US and the agents of Israel. Ironically, the leaders of the rally are mentioned on the CIA website. Some Egyptian newspapers – including the al-Wafd daily – condemned this already. At the same moment, this so-called “unbeatable fighter” who claims that his rally is against Israel was mentioned in Israeli media as an expected visitor after signing a business agreement with an Israeli agriculture company. One of the experts from this Israeli agriculture company is working at his office.
Egypt is the only country in the world where the ruling party selects its opposition groups and assigns its rivals. If they like an opposition activist, they will give him a license to launch an “opposition” party. If they dislike him later, they throw him in prison for years; sometimes for the same license they previously gave to him!
When Mostafa Kamal Helmy became the director of the Parties’ Affairs Committee, he infected it with some of his characteristics as a former teacher. PAC now applies the rule: good manners are preferred to intellectuality. I doubt that, one day, we might find a sub-line on the banner of the PAC reading: “discipline, pruning, and reform!” Currently, Pac director is the Secretary General of the ruling National Democratic Party. The members of PAC are the pro-regime officials from the ministries of Interior, Justice, etc. In case this committee rejected your request, you can yearn to the “Court of Parties,” which is run by judges, NDP members, and high profile governmental officials. If the PAC does not notify you with its decision, they have the right to put you in jail at any minute. Simply, the materials you submit are usually used as proof of you violating the law, in case they refused your request. If the committee chooses not notify you or send you to prison, they can plant thorns in your head. They send you someone who barely knows something about efforts you made for establishing your party and let him claim that he is a “partner” and even worse drag you down into a conflict of the leadership of your own party! Then, you find yourself obliged to prove owning a right of your own. This is the most successful strategy the government uses to exhaust you and sometimes cripple you, if you wanted to practice real opposition politics.
The judiciary cannot be of any help. If you file a claim, you have to wait for many years. If you wait and respect the rules until you finally have a verdict, the PAC still keeps the right to validate this verdict or not, and you have to wait for another supporting verdict to the first verdict. You can hold as many public conferences as you can, and the committee still keeps the right to pay attention or disregard you at all. This happens all the time in Egypt.
Egyptian political parties are either unauthorized, banned, or terrified from losing their license. The El-Ghad Party is a living example to this horrible disorder. Only 89 days after establishing the El-Ghad party, the PAC decided to solve the situation by imprisoning its leader and founder.
However, this did not lead to the results they were looking for, as we ranked second in the presidential election. Thus, the committee decided to shake us! One week after the presidential elections, they started the shaking game, but we stood strong in the face of the earthquake. Hence, the regime and its PAC decided to apply a new strategy: genocide. They arrested young members, besieged our activities, banned the party newspaper, and burnt its headquarters.
When will the regime and the so-called Parties Affairs Committee realize that political parties are not born by governmental decisions or killed by anonymous fires?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

EGYPT: Activist Ayman Nour blasts authorities for travel ban

EGYPT: Activist Ayman Nour blasts authorities for travel ban
November 5, 2009 | 6:45 am


Opposition leader Ayman Nour has attacked the ruling regime after he was barred from traveling to the United States, where he was invited to speak about Egypt's political climate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Nour and a number of Egyptian politicians, including Gamal Mubarak -- a top official in the ruling National Democratic Party and the son of President Hosni Mubarak -- were invited to the Carnegie event. Nour said he is convinced that his travel ban was intended to prevent anti-government figures from spoiling Gamal Mubarak's trip.

"Mubarak's son wants the lion's share of the Egyptian political sphere, whether that is inside or outside the country," Nour said. "But I will not give him such pleasure, and I will take part in the Carnegie seminar through video conferences."

The founder and former head of El Ghad opposition party, who was also planning to take part in a number of conferences organized by the Egyptian community in the U.S., previously said that the Egyptian public prosecutor had issued an administrative decision preventing him from going to the U.S. and other nations in the Middle East and Europe.

Gamal Mubarak is being groomed to succeed his father, a scenario resented by many Egyptians who have suffered under the government's economic programs and repressive human-rights policies and don’t want a Mubarak dynasty. Nour and fellow opposition activists and parties recently formed a coalition under the slogan Mayehkomsh ("You don't have the right to rule"), rejecting any succession plan.

After losing to Hosni Mubarak in Egypt's first contested elections in 2005, Nour was sentenced to five years in prison on what are widely regarded as trumped-up charges of forging signatures in order to establish El Ghad party. He was released on health grounds in February and since then has only been allowed to leave the country to receive healthcare abroad.

Nour, who has been touring Egyptian cities to interact with citizens and demonstrate his political vision over the last few months, can't run in the 2011 presidential elections because of his earlier conviction.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Reject Anti-Semitism and Respect Egypt's Pluralism

Published on Wall Street Journal

Monday, November 2, 2009

The authors of "Why Are Egypt's Liberals Anti-Semitic?" (op-ed, Oct. 26), Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros, quote me at a conference I was invited to attend in the city of Port Said, Egypt shortly after my release from prison after contesting President Hosni Mubarak in the 2005 presidential elections.

I would like to clarify a few points regarding the statements attributed to me in the article. First, neither myself nor my party, El-Ghad, were the organizers of this forum. I was invited to attend in my personal capacity, and to make a short statement. I was not responsible for any graffiti or items placed on the banners in the conference.

Furthermore, my statements referred specifically to Israel's conduct during the Gaza war, which in my opinion was highly objectionable.

I was distraught over the excessive loss of civilian life in Gaza, and I regret that my comments were expressed in a way that was unclear and that may have understandably offended.

Anyone examining my record can easily discern that I have always supported and upheld Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, and have strongly opposed calls of aggression against Israel.

I have also consistently called for a peaceful and just resolution to the Arab Israeli conflict. I gave a recent interview published in Commentary magazine where I stated, "El-Ghad supports every treaty made by Egypt before and will keep it going. We want to ensure peace with every country in the world."

I would like to conclude that the "anti-Semitic" label is one that I strongly reject. My critiques pertain to the conduct of the state of Israel in certain contexts and not to the Jewish people as a whole. The history of Egypt is replete with contributions from Jewish Egyptians, and that history of pluralism that once defined Egypt is one that I recall fondly and deeply respect.

Principles of religious pluralism and mutual respect and tolerance are principles that I strongly advocate not just in my position as a political activist, but as a human being.

Ayman Nour

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ayman Nour "Attacked" in Hurghada

Egyptian opposition figure Ayman Nour's troubles with the authorities continue. Over the weekend he was allegedly attacked by security forces and National Democratic Party operatives in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada. The linked report says he was at a restaurant with an American filmmaker, and the US may have intervened to free him.

Now that he's made himself the spokesman of the Stop Gamal movement, he'll be even more of as lightning rod drawing attention from the authorities.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

An apology from Ayman Nour

Ayman Nour

On Tuesday, October 27, Egyptian anti-succession dissidents will hold a press conference at the Center for Socialist Studies. The event will be sponsored by Opinion Prisoners Committee, headed by our colleague Mohamed Abdul Quddus. We will announce a common stance of support to freedoms and opinion Prisoners. In addition, we will explain to the public how this injustice is related to the catastrophe of the expected inheritance of the presidency in our country.

While thinking of my speech tomorrow, I feel an urgent need to apologize for my disability to help our brothers: opinion detainees and prisoners of conscience. On the top of the list are Magdy Ahmed Hussein, Gamal Heshmat, Mosa’ad Abu Fager, and a dozen other names! I think we owe an apology to every single detainee in Egypt, regardless of their affiliation or background. We owe an apology to every Egyptian citizen who was deprived his right to be interrogated by his natural judge as well as those who were sentenced by a “pre-adjusted” judge. We owe a double apology, though, to “civil” citizens who were put to trial by a “military” court. Regardless of the results, either reasonable or shocking, the procedures require an apology; not only to those prisoners and their families but also to every one who paid a heavy price for our disability to purify our country from this shameful injustice.

An Indian leader once said “the history witnessed that when tyranny increases, the authority cracks down on truth and freedom through using courts to remove away whoever stands for them! The might of the judiciary could be used, equally, for applying justice or injustice! Under a fair government, the judiciary would enhance justice and truth. Under an oppressive government, the judiciary would be the fatal machine of oppression and revenge! History tells us that court rooms have been, in many occasions, noxious stages for quiet brutality, even worse than the brutality of war. In battle fields and court rooms – alike – many innocent souls were lost and unlimited number of rights was taken!”

I think I owe a special apology on each day of the ten years I spent as Member of Parliament, for not condemning the dangerous gaps of our legislation, which allows for applying injustice under the fake mask of justice! I should have investigated the tricky texts of Egyptian law, which stand between a citizen and his natural judge. Such texts were and are still used to punish thinkers and intellectuals instead of criminals and murderers, who usually go without punishment or even sometimes without accountability.

From the same room which produced article 6 for Military Trials, which allows putting civilians to military tribunals, other unfair articles were produced, such as: article 9 of the Emergency Law 162/1958, which entitles the president of the state to transform the crimes punishable under public law to a “State Security Court.” Other examples include the December 13, 1953, decision of establishing Revolution Courts, and Law 344/ 1952 of establishing “Betrayal Courts,” followed by Values Court, Parties Court, etc. All are forms of tyranny and violations to citizen’s right to be tried by his natural judge.

Those laws are perfectly tailored to prevent citizens from recognizing their judge before being taken to court. Sometimes, the heads of courts commit an absolute violation of human rights by changing the geographical distribution of judges and provinces. The unfair law entitles them to send a particular case to some other province and judge. We suffer the worst form of justice administration in this country. The administration of justice is not related to the core concept of justice or the judiciary system. It is, however, a technical expression used by those interested in applying justice as a basic right to all.

Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Egypt is a signatory, stipulates the criteria for the fair administration of justice. ICCPR has become an integral part of Egyptian law since April 14, 1982. Yet, when a civil citizen is sent to a military tribunal, or loses his right to go through the different levels of trials; i.e. primary, appeal and cassation courts, thus investigating the rights guaranteed by such stipulation are useless.

We urgently need to re-build the whole system of justice administration in Egypt to guarantee the actual independence of prosecutor, separating the authority of transforming cases and the authority of investigation, removing exceptional judiciary, and using natural judges who are not usually selected upon mere rules of the blinded justice.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Egypt: 29 years between a president and his heir

Ayman Nour

President Mubarak made his first Presidential oath on October 14, 1981. He swore to observe the interests of the country. He said “I” and did not mention “I and my son after me” in his oath. Three days ago, Mubarak completed his 29th year as president of Egypt. Let’s, then, qualify the statuesque in Egypt after 29 years under Mubarak – Mubarak senior! I dedicate this article to the youth of the April 6 movement, who are going to hold a parallel conference to the annual conference of the National Democratic Party (NDP) at the end of this month.

Egypt lives in a chaos of “reversed” selections. The best items are expelled out and the worst items are kept in. Hypocrites and corrupt members are taken to the top.

There is a case of doubled general failure every where. “Zero” has become the slogan of the current phase of Egyptian history, in all fields.

High prices of basic commodities and various costs of living are exaggerated in a most unprecedented way in history!

More than half of the Egyptian people live under the poverty line. They cannot earn their daily living.

Public health is deteriorating daily thanks to the pesticides, poisoned substances in the air and water, corruption, poverty, pollution and life’s pressures.

Free health services are getting worse. Providing proper medication has become the responsibility, not of the country, but of the patients who can pay for it.

Corruption is controlling every single activity inside the state, from the highest level of the regime to the lowest levels. Systematic stealing is happening everywhere.

Bribes became the only way for citizens to have their rights given, their interests satisfied, and their legal permits taken, and their day moving smoothly.

Nepotism and favoritism have become the ideal gateway to having anything done.

Education is getting worse; both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Parents are doubly burdened by the responsibility of supporting their children with private lessons or parallel education classes, particularly after the appearance of Swine Flu.

Unemployment is killing the ambitions of fresh graduates and young people who have lost their hope in the future for themselves and for their country.

The number of those who commit suicide at a young age is increasing out of their feeling of social injustice.

The marriage age is increasing and unmarried youth and “custom” marriage have become a rampant phenomena of the Egyptian society.

The number of the crimes for immoral behavior, homosexuality and whoredom is increasing.

The social texture is dissolving. The divorce rate in Egyptian society is reaching unexpected and unprecedented levels.

Unjustified violence and crimes of robbery and murder are happening at higher rates.

The traditional values of Egyptian society are vanishing. The morals and behavior of Egyptian society is changing to the negative.

Egyptian youth are seeking illegal migration, despite the high risk, which was not the case before. Hundreds of Egyptian youth died while trying to get out of Egypt through the sea!

Egyptian youth who could not do illegal migration to other countries, made another migration into themselves. Some ran to drugs, some ran to extremism and some ran to the glories of the past.

Egypt has become a big prison; its bars are the impossibility of life with dignity.

Egypt is witnessing the illegal marriage between power and money. Corruption is wasting the credibility of the so-called reformists and their claimed reforms.

Egypt is no longer the gift of the Nile. Egypt has become the gift of the monopoly of everything: monopoly of power, economy, businesses, and rights.

Justice has disappeared on legal and moral levels. The sense of tyranny and injustice is everywhere.

Egypt is going through a general case of a slow death caused by the eternity of officials on their seats, and even worse inheritance of these seats.

The police state is controlling different forms of life in Egypt. Police logic has become the governing rule of all state offices.

Laws were turned into a means to support tyranny, suppression and corruption via a false majority in Parliament.

Hypocrisy and lying are controlling different forms of life here. Beautifying the failure, decorating the ugly, and justifying the wrong are now the official behavior of the state.

The official media in Egypt has become the personal property of the president, his family and his party. This has increased people’s sense of alienation inside their country.

The above symptoms are only one part of the real image of Egypt’s sufferings at the beginning of the 29th year of President Mubarak in office. Those are the symptoms of a number of fatal diseases that include: totalitarianism, individual rule, lack of transparency, lack of power exchanges, lack of judicial independence, election fraud and the monopoly of power.

We should not accept our country to be inherited by those who are still putting their knife on our neck! Now is the time to put an end to this very long and absurd black comedy!