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Cablegate: Ayman Nour's Wife On Potus Lunch and Muted Goe

VZCZCXRO5108
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2177 2881105
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141105Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0627
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0401

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002177

SIPDIS

NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2028
TAGS: PHUM PREL KDEM KJUS IO EG
SUBJECT: AYMAN NOUR'S WIFE ON POTUS LUNCH AND MUTED GOE
REACTION

Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs William R. Stewart, for reason 1.4 (d).
1.(C) In an October 9 meeting with Gameela Ismail, wife of imprisoned Al Ghad Party leader Ayman Nour, Ismail described her late September visit to the US as a "great success." She said that the September 23 Freedom Agenda lunch with POTUS and other international democracy activists was "encouraging," and found the other participants "inspiring," particularly the attendees from Cuba and Belarus. The only sour note for Ismail was that no one offered any promises about Nour's release; "I was sure that while I was there, the President or his staff would offer me some assurance, or some hint that Nour would be released soon, but it did not happen." 2.(C) Ismail said she had visited Nour in prison since her return, and he is "ecstatic" that she attended the lunch; "he feels this was a once in a lifetime opportunity." Ismail noted that everyone else in her family, including her two sons, did not want her to travel to the US, largely out of concern over possible GOE reaction to her attendance at the POTUS lunch, but due to Nour's insistence, she made the trip. Ismail said that there have been no negative consequences to her trip "yet." To her surprise, the coverage from the government-backed press has been muted. Ismail believes that the newspapers received instructions to downplay her meeting with POTUS ) "they decided, smartly, not to make a big deal out of it."

3.(C) Ismail said she planned to travel to Geneva on October 11, for an October 12-14 meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which has reportedly been discussing Nour's case in its Human Rights committee for the past year. Ismail was hopeful that the IPU would decide to publicly chastise Egypt for its treatment of Nour, or perhaps suspend Egypt's IPU membership. (Note: According to press reports, parliamentary speaker Fathi Surour is leading a delegation of senior Egyptian MP's to the IPU meeting. End note).

4.(C) Ismail passed us a copy of a letter to the International Criminal Court petitioning the court to take on Nour's case, and said she had sent a similar letter to the UNSYG. Ismail was optimistic that the ICC would become involved in Nour's case, and said that Nour is also focused on the ICC. (Note: On October 12, Nour was quoted by the Cairo Daily Star as saying that "a surprising decision" would be taken by the ICC before the end of November, and that "although Egypt has not ratified the ICC treaty, this does not prevent the court from charging Egyptian officials"). SCOBEY

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