CAIRO: Ayman Nour’s wife and El-Ghad party spokesman, Gamilla Ismail, was prevented from visiting her husband, who is currently in the midst of his sentence in Tora Mazraa Prison; Ismail claims the bar was meant to prevent Nour from submitting articles he had written for the El-Ghad newspaper.
Ismail said she had a written permit from the Prosecutor General allowing her visitation rights to Nour. Judicially, according to Ismail, she has the right to visit Nour every 21 days.
Nour had been regularly submitting columns, which were often analyzed and photocopied by prison officials, for the El-Ghad newspaper. Through Ismail, he occasionally sent speeches to the press syndicate, journalists and his supporters outside Egypt.
Following the refusal to grant her access to her husband, Ismail staged a sit-in in front of the prison, in spite of attempts by security to force her to leave. Shortly afterwards, she was joined by Nour’s principal lawyers and Nour supporters, who staged a protest outside the prison headquarters. The protestors chanted for Nour while standing in the open air for more than nine hours.
“I think this decision was made to stop him from writing, Ismail told The Daily Star Egypt. “They want to bar him from the public life; they want him to be forgotten.
The ban came after one independent newspaper had recently published that there is talk that Nour is a potential candidate for the United Nations Good Will Ambassadorship. According to Ismail, while unfounded, that news is “probable.
Nour, indicted of forging signatures to authorize his party, was one of Mubarak’s principal political opponents in last year’s presidential elections. However, his liberal El-Ghad party performed poorly in last year’s tumultuous parliamentary elections and has achieved little, in spite of being backed up by many Egyptian liberals and intellects, in addition to the U.S. State Department of State.
Nour’s trial has drawn wide international attention, and when the El-Ghad head and former presidential candidate was sentenced to five years in prison, strong reactions were voiced. His case was often linked to the future of political reform in Egypt and democratic prospects.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Newsweek, Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif defended the government’s right to indict Nour, saying that his case was handled fairly. “Because I know Ayman, I know he forged those papers, Nazif told the magazine.
“The problem with Ayman Nour’s case, and here I have my own frustrations with the media, is that nobody looked at the case on its own merits, Nazif told the weekly magazine. “All you hear about when you read [is that] these are bogus charges. Not true. I don’t think what Ayman Nour did in Egypt, if done in the U.S., would have gone unpunished.
Nazif, in this comprehensive interview, also dispelled any chances of Nour being released early. “Nobody has that power except the president, and that is the pardon power. But the president hasn’t used that authority as far as I know since he came to office, Nazif told Newsweek. “[Besides] this is not a political court . This is an ordinary Egyptian criminal court.
“[Nour] was prosecuted and the case took its course, Nazif added. “It’s difficult to come in and interfere with a court case once it’s there. He has the right to appeal, and he will . Let the courts decide.