Monday, March 17, 2008

One appeal rejected as another begins

The appeal case of Ayman Nour, was turned down by the Supreme Administrative Court earlier today. Ayman Nour had stated health reasons (He suffers from diabetes and cardiac problems) for the appeal that had been refused before. He was originally sentenced to five years on forgery charges on Christmas eve 2005.

Ayman Nour the liberal Ghad Party opponent to President Mubarak in the first Presidential elections ever held in Egypt back in September 2005, was once the rising star of the Wafd, before leaving it due to infighting.

He started the Ghad Party, which obtained it´s party license in October 2004, and like no other party since the new Wafd first came about in 1978, it was full of promise and freshness, and above all a liberal party to cater for the ¨silent majority¨. But it did not take long before the trouble began. Yet again the endemic infighting that is one strong characteristic in almost every opposition party, showed it´s ugly face and in turn made it vulnerable to outside forces.

In January he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and arrested on the charges of having forged signatures for the registration procedure when applying for a party license,that was the beginning of this ordeal. After pressure from The U.S he was released and able to contend the Presidential elections in September, he also participated in the November-December parliamentary elections, and one of the enigmas of that election is how Ayman Nour could loose his seat in the Bab al Shaáriya constituency after being returned to parliament twice.


It´s perhaps significant to point toward the finality of the situation, here summed up by Nour´s lawyer, Amir Salem:

"For the first time, I asked today for a presidential pardon for Ayman Nur," lawyer Amir Salem told AFP. "Frankly, that's the last card I can play. Now, everything is in the hands of the state."


In another sad, long and nightmarish story there is a continuation, just when one hoped for a full stop.

The story about the blogging judge who wrote a scientific study on laws governing internet and blogging, called ¨ " Scientific and Legal Assets for Blogs on the Internet¨ in a not so scientific way, should have been a footnote in the early history of Egyptian blogging and an open internet by now and the case put in the dustbin once and for all, but unfortunately that´s not the case.

The appeal case of Judge Abd al Fattah Mourad concerning the closing down of 50 websites, including newspapers,human rights organizations and blogs began yesterday.

During the Cairo Book fair in February 2007 it became known that Judge Mourad had written a book “The Scientific and Legal Fundamentals of Internet Blogs." that later proved to contain about 50 pages, directly copied from ¨Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments and the Internet ” according to HR-Info, the organization that issued the annual report just two months prior to that.

The original trial began in March when the Alexandrian Judge Mourad filed a lawsuit against the Council of Cabinet and some ministries, asking them to shut down 21 websites, later on the 21 would expand to 50 websites. The reason for the Honourable Judge to demand this being that he saw these papers, human rights organizations and blogs as ¨terrorist¨ and as ¨tarnishing Egypt´s reputation and the Arab governments¨ This was finally dismissed by the administrative court on December 29th 2007, and that should have been the of this. But as one appeal is rejected, another one begins.

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