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.


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