Petition of the European Parliament members
BACKGROUND AND PETITION
AND LETTER TO MUBARAK
The European Parliament already approved a resolution on Egypt on January 19th 2006 (P6_TA-PROV(2006)0031) stating e.g. that :
J. whereas human rights violations in Egypt have increased in the past months; whereas, for instance, the leader of the secular El Ghad party and former member of parliament Ayman Nour and other defendants were arrested after the last elections; whereas Ayman Nour has been sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment for allegedly falsifying some of the 50 signatures needed to register his party,
16. Welcomes and supports the worldwide calls to release Ayman Nour, and strongly urges the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the Ayman Nour is well treated and not subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment and that he is given prompt, regular and unrestricted access to his lawyers, doctors (as he is diabetic) and family;
Dr Ayman Nour, Egyptian leader of al Ghad (Tomorrow) party is currently imprisoned on trumped-up charges concerning the registration of his opposition party and sentenced to five years in jail. For more information on the case I refer to the attached BBC document.
Dr Ayman Nour is a prominent figure in the Egyptian civil opposition movement. In the last presidential election, he ran against President Mubarak and came in second. He was thrown in prison by the Egyptian government immediately after the elections.
Dr. Nour’s appeal has been decided to be viewed by the cassation court on May 18th. This means that either the court will accept the appeal and acquit him or accept the appeal and send him to another trial or unfortunately reject the appeal. The judge who was chosen to head this tribunal is the same judge that was chosen to question the Egyptian judges who testified against the government and confirmed forgery of elections process last November.
A high-level transatlantic cooperation among legislators would be a key factor in keeping the issue on the agenda and help Egypt towards democracy.
Dead-line to sign the Petition: 11-04-2006
Petition to Free Ayman Nour
We the undersigned
Members of the European Parliament,
Members of the Congress of the United States and
Members of the Senate of the United States
call upon the Egyptian government to FREE AYMAN NOUR.
Dr. Nour, the leader of the Al-Ghad party, was arrested and tried for defending democracy, freedom and political pluralism: the international values that we stand for.
Ayman Nour, born in 1964 in Al-Mansoura, founded and leads the new liberal and democratic party Al-Ghad (the Party of Tomorrow), which stands for democracy, human and political rights.
For the last few years, he and his party members were harassed and intimidated by the Egyptian authorities. This persecution culminated in his arrest and trial, in which he was sentenced for five years in jail.
This is a deliberate attack on his political, human and civil rights. Furthermore it is an attack on the nascent initiative to free a political life in Egypt to move towards democracy and pluralism.
The Egyptian government has a long history of censoring political speech and imprisoning, on what are frequently claimed to be false charges, those who express opposition to President Mubarak's regime.
In many cases, members of the judiciary appear to closely endorse the government's goals. The judge who sentenced Dr. Nour to five years imprisonment, Adel Abdel Salam Gom'a, is the same judge who previously sentenced Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the prominent democracy and human rights activist, to prison on similar charges.
We urge to continue to pressure the Egyptian government to release Ayman Nour and cease the persecution of Egyptian advocates of democracy and reform.
1 - Ari Vatanen, Member of the EP, Foreign Affairs Committee, Finland
2 - Graham Watson, Member of the EP, Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, United Kingdom
3 - Emma Bonino, Member of the EP, Partito Radicale, Italy
4 - Hokmark Gunnar, Member of the EP, Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, Sweden
5 - Napoletano Pasqualina, Member of the EP, Vice President of the Socialist group at the EP, Italy
6 - Jana Hybaskova, Member of the EP, Group of the Popular Party, Czech Republic
7 - Geremek Bronislaw, Member of the EP, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Poland
8 - Malmström Cecilia, Member of the EP, Sweden
9 - Wijkman Anders, Member of the EP, Sweden
10 - Marco Pannella, Member of the EP, Partito Radicale, Italy
11 - Samuelsen Anders, Member of the EP, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Denmark
12 - Lilli Gruber, Member of the EP, Italy
13 - Van Den Berg Max, Member of the EP,
14 - Baroness Sarah Ludford, Member of the EP, Liberal Democrat, London, United Kingdom
15 - Mc Millian Scott Edward, Member of the EP
16 - Simon Coveney, Member of the EP
17 - Richard Corbett, Member of the EP for Yorshire and the Humber, United Kingdom
18 - Doyle Avril, Member of the EP
19 - Erna Hennicot Schoepges, Member of the EP
20 - Marc Tarabella, Member of the EP
21 - Piia Noora Kauppi, Member of the EP, Head of the Finnish EPP-ED delegation, Finland
22 - Alain Lamassoure, Member of the EP, France
23 - André Brie, Member of the EP, Germany
24 - Konrad Szymanski, Member of the EP
25 - Mr Cem Özdemir, Member of the EP, The Greens/EFA Group
26 - Claude Moraes, Member of the EP
27 - Albert Jan Maat, Member of the EP
28 - Girts Valdis Kristovskis, Member of the EP, Latvia
29 - Anders Wijkman, Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats Member. Sweden
30 - Satu Hassi, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance Member, Finland
31 - Wojciech Roszkowski, Union for Europe of the Nations Group, Poland
32 - Jules Maaten, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Netherlands
33 - Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, United Kingdom
34 - Liz Lynne, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, United Kingdom
35 - Gérard Deprez, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Member, Belgium
36 - Carnero Gonzales Carlos, PSE, MEP, Spain
37 - Catherine Stihler, MEP for Scotland
38 - Fausto Correia, MEP, Socialist Party, Portugal
LETTER TO MUBARAK
His Excellency Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdin Palace Cairo, Egypt
17th of May 2006
The 2005 presidential elections in Egypt were welcomed by the international community as a great achievement for reforms in the whole MENA region. The European Parliament believes that your initiative to call on the People’s Assembly to amend Article 76 of the Constitution, thereby permitting contested direct elections for the presidency, is in accordance with your stated goal of advancing democracy in Egypt.
However, the persistence of violations of basic rights and freedoms of Egyptian citizens calls into question which direction the democratic process in Egypt is taking. Moreover, the detention of Al-Ghad leader, Ayman Nour, on questionable charges of having forged documents when applying for legal registration of the Al-Ghad Party last year, raises further concerns among the international community about human and civil rights. As much as Europe and the USA wish to deepen their relationship with your country, the recent events may well imperil it. That, in turn, could regrettably lead to increased isolation and strengthening of extremist currents.
As the Egyptian civil society is willing to move towards a democratic process, that you, Mr. President, admirably started, the European Parliament appeals1 to the immediate release of Dr Ayman Nour, as well as journalists and judges taken into custody. The European Parliament is therefore looking forward to Dr Nour’s appeal on the 18th of May to see a fair and just trial and to his final release.
Sincere and respectful regards,
Members of the European Parliament
CC. Javier Solana High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy,
General of the Council of the European Union
Benita Ferrero-Waldner Member of the European Commission in charge of External Relations