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Human rights organisations ask president to reduce ailing critic's prison term and set him free

(EOHR/IFEX) - The following is a 24 January 2007 joint action signed by EOHR, HRinfo and other orgnanisations:

Human Rights Organizations Call Upon the President to Reduce the Punishment imposed on Ayman Nour

The undersigned human rights organizations call upon the President of the Republic to reduce the punishment imposed on Dr. Ayman Nour, the former president of al Ghad Party and a former MP, who is now spending an imprisonment period of five years in Mazraat Tora Prison after he was charged in Case 169/2005 (State Security). This call came as a reaction to Nour's deteriorating health conditions and as an enactment of Article 149 of the Egyptian Constitution which states that "The President of the Republic shall have the right of granting amnesty or commuting a sentence. General Amnesty can only be granted by virtue of a law."

On 18 January 2007, information was revealed concerning the deterioration of Nour's health conditions after having a catheterization at Al Kasr Al Ainy Hospital. He suffered from bleeding in heart arteries after he was transferred back to Tora Prison. Nour is diabetic and receives medication to control bleeding, which eventually led to bleeding in his retina, which may totally damage his optical nerves. He is also suffering from deep venous thrombosis and decay of the joint of the right leg due to limited mobility inside the prison.

Meanwhile, Nour's family complained that the prison's administration is preventing visits from his doctor and lawyer, which constitutes a breach of the Constitution and international human rights instruments. The undersigned organizations reaffirm that what Nour suffers inside the prison is considered a direct violation of national legislation and international human rights documents such as Article 3 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person", and also Article 36 of Law 396/1956 (Prison Law), which states that "Any prisoner who may be considered by the prison's doctor to be suffering from a life-threatening sickness shall be presented to the head of the prison's medical department to consider his/her release."

Accordingly, the undersigned organizations demand that the President of the Republic reduce Dr. Nour's punishment to the period he already spent in prison and to release him soon. Also the undersigned organizations demand that the Prosecutor General enact Article 42 of the Criminal Procedures Code and dispatch a representative of the Prosecution Office to investigate the conditions inside Mazraat Tora Prison and to determine the health conditions of Nour to avoid endangering his life.

Signatories of this petition:
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies
Kalima Center for Human Rights
Land Center for Human Rights
Hisham Mubarak Law Center
The Human Rights Association for Prisoners Aid
The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
The Association for Human Rights Legal Aid
The Egyptian Democratic Center
Nadeem Center for Psychological Therapy for Torture Survivors
South Center for Human Rights
The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Sawasia Center for Human Rights and Counter Discrimination
The Center for Egyptian Women's Issues
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Land Son's Foundation for Human Rights
The Arab Center for Independence of Judiciary and Lawyers
Shomoa Association for Human Rights and Special Needs Care
The Egyptian Association for Supporting Democratic Development
The Group of Democracy Development
The Egyptian Foundation for Training and Human Rights
United Group

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

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