Presidential candidacy and arrest
Nour was the first man to ever compete against President Hosni Mubarak
in the 2005 presidential election
. Nour was stripped of his parliamentary immunity
and arrested on 29 January 2005. He was charged with forging PAs (Powers of Attorney) to secure the formation of the el-Ghad party. Nour vehemently denied the charges.
The arrest, occurring in an election year, was widely criticized by governments around the world as a step backwards for Egyptian democracy. Few seem to regard the charges as legitimate. Nour remained active despite his imprisonment, using the opportunity to write critical articles and make his case and cause better known.
In February 2005, Condoleezza Rice
abruptly postponed a visit to Egypt, reflecting U.S. displeasure at the jailing of Nour, who was reported to have been brutally interrogated.
That same month, the government announced that it would open elections to multiple candidates in the following month.
In March 2005, following a strong intervention in Cairo by a group of Members of the European Parliament led by Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott (UK, Conservative), Nour was freed and began a campaign for the Egyptian presidency.
In the election in September 2005
, Nour was the first runner-up, with 7% of the vote according to government figures and estimated at 13% by independent observers, although no independent observers were allowed to monitor the elections. Shortly after placing a distant second, in what are widely believed to have been corrupt elections, he was again imprisoned by Mubarak under allegations of "forgery" which were widely criticized to have been politically motivated and corrupt charges.
On 24 December 2005, he was sentenced to five years in jail. Though diabetic
, Nour engaged in a two-week-long hunger strike to protest against his trial.
Nour's verdict and sentencing made global headlines and were the first item of news on many international news broadcasts, including the BBC
On the day of Nour's guilty verdict and sentencing, the White House Press Secretary
released the following statement denouncing the government's action:
The United States is deeply troubled by the conviction today of Egyptian politician Ayman Nour by an Egyptian court. The conviction of Mr. Nour, the runner-up in Egypt's 2005 presidential elections, calls into question Egypt's commitment to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. We are also disturbed by reports that Mr Nour's health has seriously declined due to the hunger strike on which he has embarked in protest of the conditions of his trial and detention. The United States calls upon the Egyptian government to act under the laws of Egypt in the spirit of its professed desire for increased political openness and dialogue within Egyptian society, and out of humanitarian concern, to release Mr Nour from detention.
In February 2006, Rice visited Mubarak yet never spoke Nour's name publicly. When asked about him at a news conference, she referred to his situation as one of Egypt's setbacks. Days later, Mubarak told a government newspaper that Rice "didn't bring up difficult issues or ask to change anything." From prison, Nour stated "I pay the price when [Rice] speaks [of me], and I pay the price when she doesn't," Nour said. "But what's happening to me now is a message to everybody."
In June 2007 President Bush, speaking at a conference of dissidents in the Czech Republic, revisited the issue of Ayman Nour, saying:
There are many dissidents who couldn't join us because they are being unjustly imprisoned or held under house arrest. I look forward to the day when a conference like this one include Alexander Kozulin of Belarus, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Oscar Elias Biscet of Cuba, Father Nguyen Van Ly of Vietnam, Ayman Nour of Egypt. (Applause.) The daughter of one of these political prisoners is in this room. I would like to say to her, and all the families: I thank you for your courage. I pray for your comfort and strength. And I call for the immediate and unconditional release of your loved ones.
I have asked Secretary Rice to send a directive to every U.S. ambassador in an un-free nation: Seek out and meet with activists for democracy. Seek out those who demand human rights.
Nour was released, officially on health grounds, on 18 February 2009, just a few months before he would have completed his prison sentence.
It has been alleged that his release from prison was due to U.S. President Obama demanding his release as a condition to meet with Mubarak.
2011 Egyptian revolution–present
Nour left Egypt following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état
In 2014, he spent time in Lebanon
for treatment of a wound he sustained while in prison, and expressed his hope for returning to Egypt.
- ^ Nour supports Brotherhood Morsy Egypt Independent, 27 March 2013
- ^ a b c Williams, Daniel, Egypt Frees An Aspiring Candidate Presidential Hopeful Is Released on BailThe Washington Post 13 March 2005; Retrieved 20 March 2007 Archived 9 February 2013 at archive.today
- ^ a b "Egypt's Nour released from jail". BBC News. 18 February 2009. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
- ^ a b "Court to consider withdrawing Ayman Nour's citizenship". Cairo Post. 23 January 2014. Archived from the original on 31 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- ^ a b "Egyptian vote more one-sided than Mubarak's days - Ayman Nour". Aswat Masriya. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- ^ Kessler, Glen, Rice Drops Plans for Visit to EgyptThe Washington Post 26 February 2005; Retrieved 15 March 2007 Archived 17 September 2012 at archive.today
- ^ "Egypt's Nour released from jail". BBC News. 18 February 2009. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
- ^ Former Egyptian Presidential Candidate Sentenced to 5 Years Hard Labor Voice of America, 24 December 2005
- ^ "Statement on Conviction of Egyptian Politician Ayman Nour". U.S. National Archives. 24 December 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- ^ Spolar, Christine: Egypt reformer feels the iron hand of the law] Chicago Tribune (IL); 3 June 2006, Retrieved 20 March 2007
- ^ "President Bush Visits Prague, Czech Republic, Discusses Freedom". U.S. National Archives. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- ^ Macleod, Scott (19 February 2009). "Egypt Frees a Dissident: A Gesture for Obama?". TIME.
- ^ "Ten Egyptian candidates barred from elections". www.bbc.com. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- ^ "Egypt: Opponents of Sisi launch anti-regime group". Middle East Monitor. 31 December 2019. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
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