Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Administrative tribunal postpones Ayman Nour decison until 12 June

The case on releasing Ayman Nour based on medical grounds were up in court today. The judge of the administrative tribunal postponed it until a new medical committee from the justice ministry could examine him further. The next court date is set for 12 June.

Ayman Nour´s case was reexamined today on health grounds according to the semiofficial daily al Ahram. An administrative tribunal is due to examine his case on medical grounds, due to his deteriorating health. This just months after a medical team, judged his condition to be good enough to continue serving his sentence.

Ayman Nour, the Ghad Party leader suffers from a heart condition and diabetes. He´s currently serving a five year prison sentence on forgery charges. The trial was flawed and the sentence is largely viewed as politically motivated . He lost an appeal in May 2006.

Ayman Nour was once the up and comming star of the Wafd party, with which he broke ranks with under archrival Numan Gouma´s leadership. He was elected to parliament twice in 1995 and 2000 in the Bab ash Shariyya district in Cairo. In the parliamentary elections in 2005 he lost his seat. The Ghad Party is the latest party to be recognized, and it optained it´s party license in October 2004. Nour and the party imidiately showed that he didn´t intend to play along in the limited political game, but wanted to play ¨real politics¨, just as the new Wafd had tried doing in 1978. Four months later he was in jail, he was released and contested the first multi-candidate presidential elections ever before he´s trial began, landing him in prison again and sentenced on Christmas eve 2005.

Let´s hope the tribunal comes up with a positive piece of news today, and let´s wish for a better future!

This will be updated tomorrow.


Here is an AFP newswire with comments from Gamila Ismail, vice president of the al Ghad Party and Ayman Nour´s wife. The statement was made outside the courthouse prior to the session.

Update II:

The court decision will probably make Gamila Ismail´s run for the Gameliyya seat in the Shoura council elections( the upper house of parliament), due on 11 June next to impossible.


The case was up in court again yesterday June 26th, and was postponed once again until next Tuesday, 2 July. Present at the court hearing was representatives from the U.S., British and Canadian embassies.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Pieces on Moném and Sandmonkey

For those of you who might have missed it, i would like to recommend three articles. Charles Levinson former editor of Cairo Magazine, which i miss enourmously penned a piece that was published yesterday on Sandmonkey and Moném, also earlier last week Dan Murphy wrote a long article on Moném and last but not least, Issandr el Amrani´s article Heroes or martyrs? on comment is free(The Guardian).

all of them are well worth reading.

Amr Khaled on Time top 100

Amr Khaled is among the 100 most influential people in the world this year according to Time.

He is as popular as any Pop Star, perhaps even Amr Diab, which led al Ahram Weekly to use the headline Amr versus Amr a few years ago. He has been compared to Billy Graham and Dr Phil. Egypt´s most popular fotboll star Abou Treika counts Amr Khaled as an inspiration to him, and a whole new generation of urban, affluent and young has found God through him. During Ramadan there were huge billboards all over Cairo with him, wishing the people Happy Ramadan from Iqra, and his website is the third most read in the Arab World.

You can find links to a long feature article from the New York Times magazine and to a Lindsay Wise´s Thesis on Amr Khaled in a post of mine from April 06. You could also read this Independent piece.

3 dead when building collapses in Sayeda Zeinab

AP reports that three people died when a thrre-storey building in the Sayeda Zeinab quarter in Cairo collapsed this evening according to a police source. Two of the people killed were believed to have been working in the house, the third was living there. A man is suspected to be among the debris.

This is unfortunately a reocuring theme in Egypt. In August 2006, eight people lost their life in two different accidents on the same day , and the highest death toll in recent years came when a apartment building collapsed in the middle class neighbourhood Medinat Nasr in January 2004 and claimed 16 lives.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Huwaida Taha is sentenced to six months in prison

On the eve of International Press freedom day, when the Comittee to protect journalists just issued it´s annual ranking of the 10 most deteriorating countries in terms of press freedom. Egypt made the list, ranking number seven.

As if they intentionally were throwing a celebration party, The Nuzha Misdemeanours Court in Cairo issued it´s verdict against Huwaida Taha today. Taha, who produced the al Jazeera documentary on torture in Egypt, ¨behind the sun¨(Wará ash Shams in arabic) was sentenced to six months in prison, and ordered to pay a fine of 30 000 Egyptian pounds/equivalent to 5200 USD.

She was found to be guilty of ¨harming Egypt´s national interest¨

The sum of the fine was divided in two, 10 000 for tarnishing Egypt´s image and harming national interest and 20 000 for ¨fabricating footage¨ meaning that she had actors playing the scenes of torture.

Huwaida Taha was tried in absentia, she´s currently in Qatar.The verdict will be appealed according to al Jazeera´s Cairo office

Read my entry on the documentary here

Taha was held in custody for 48 hours in January, when she was leaving Cairo after completing the research for the documentary, the state security confiscated her tapes , computer and other material at the airport and questioned her before letting her leave the country.

UPDATE: Here is the Human Rights Watch statement concerning Tahas sentence.