Cablegate: Egypt: Ayman Nour Letter to President Bush


DE RUEHEG #4414/01 1971335
R 161335Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but Unclassified.

1. (SBU) The following letter to President Bush from Ayman
Nour (imprisoned leader of the Ghad Party) was delivered to
poloff on July 15 by the driver of Gameela Ismail, Nour's
wife. The letter was translated from Arabic by Embassy
staff. Text of the translation follows:

Dear President,

I write to you from behind uncouth bars and large walls, as
large as the injustice, fraud, and punishment that I have
been subjected to. Perhaps, if I had been somewhere else, I
would have been happy to begin my letter by congratulating
you on your 60th birthday, which we consider here the age at
which one can start his political life and think of having
political ambitions. For before that, ambition is a crime
punishable by prison, exemplary punishment, and the penalty
of political execution because you were hasty in wanting
something before its time. And the criterion is of course
your peers and competitors, most of whom have hit the ceiling
of their 80,s and sometimes 90's.

Dear Sir,

I was not hasty or overly ambitious when I ran in the first
presidential elections, which may be the last for me, because
I did not measure up my age to the acknowledged and
acceptable age in Egypt. Instead, I looked at the world
around me, to you, to Blair, to the many other figures, that
I thought my country deserved. I imagined that your January
2005 speech during the State of Union was addressed to my
generation of liberal reformers in all the countries that
suffered for years from your support for regimes that are
both chronic and addicted to dictatorship and coercion.

I believed what I heard about "transformational diplomacy",
and I did not realize that it meant a transformation, due to
regional interests that we paid the price for in the past,
from what we had understood to be constants; and it seems
that it is the destiny of reformers to continue to pay the
bills forever!

And here I am in prison hearing again news about the return
of the "Strategic Dialogue" and a visit by three officials in
the next few hours. And I realize that history repeats
itself. For when the last of the Egyptian peoples,
demonstrations revolts were happening in 1919, the
demonstrators were chanting for the spiritual and
intellectual leader of the revolution Saad Zaghloul, while
chanting at the same time for Mr. Wilson who said the same
thing you said in January 2005 when he declared the Twelve
Principles, the most important of which were the right of
Egyptians to determine their destiny. But my forefathers
were stunned by Mr. Wilson,s sudden recognition of the
British Protection of Egypt, and because they did not know of
"transformational diplomacy" which the young Secretary Rice
declared upon reaching her position ) and maybe even before
that - they were shocked and their chants for Wilson were
turned against him.

Dear Mr. President,

I have endured since January 2005 until July 2006 the brunt
of presenting a young and promising reformist project,
lonesome except for the people,s support, empty-handed in
the face of those who have everything: money, power, media,
jail, law, and institutions. But my faith in my country and
its sacred right in the rotation of power and my faith that I
am a one-hundred percent Egyptian project that came out of
the womb of this nation and for it. I did not hesitate one
moment to break the monopoly and the lie that the only
alternative to "them" (the Egyptian government) is terrorism.
I tolerated the President announcing ) after your State of
the Union speech of Jan 2005 - in a public interview with
writers and journalists that I had received $70 million to
compete with him! I tolerated being stigmatized by that
which I have not committed and having my reputation and
dignity assassinated, and having his (Mubarak) media
propagate ) even until now - that I am an American product,
financed and endorsed by America, and you know that I am not,
and that not one court hearing in my trial which the media
broadcasted was bereft of an insinuation or a declaration of
this accusation. I had imagined that running in the
presidential elections without money or support from the
state and without the ability to spend one-percent of what
"they" spent and coming in second ) despite everything that
happened - is a testimony of innocence insofar as my
financial status, and in quashing the lie of the $70 million
which the President personally propagated, and I do not know
where from he came up with it, though it is flagrantly fake
and severely nave, but in our country when the president
says something, it is the truth. At least amongst his men
and the monopolized media.

And you can imagine that the raiding of my house and my
arrest was basically aimed at finding the sum in my paperwork
after they failed to find it in banks, but it did not occur
to them ) because the President was the one who said - that
it was a big lie.

And now, Sir, that I have paid a huge price for my naivete,
and for believing that we cannot go from bad to worse,
because the truth is that it can. A "tailored" court issued a
sentence imprisoning me for five years and depriving me of
all my political rights for 11 years(!) and back then, it was
said: "You have a Cassation Court to go to". And on May 18,
the court hearing was a new farce, amidst a security siege
and prevention of my lawyers. A judge was selected to try
the judges and myself on the same day, at the same court, to
uphold the ruling against me. And now the only hope is for
the President to issue a Presidential Pardon in accordance
with Article 149 of the Egyptian Constitution, which allows
him that right.

Albeit, the President is not concerned with my release, and
this position seemed very clear when 110 members of
Parliament submitted to him a request last month asking that
a Presidential Pardon be issued, but he did not answer them!
And now, in light of conditions which are far from humane,
and which deprive me of all my rights as a prisoner - such as
writing, corresponding and being cuffed for intervals close
to 13 hours! - I lose every day part of my life and feel
like a clear and specific target especially since I am
diabetic and hypertensive, though I am only 41 years old.

Today "they" pressure my party, so that a group close to
Gamal "the son" can usurp power. They besiege our newspaper,
our only gateway, and they set on fire to my electoral
premises a few weeks ago and arrested a group of my
supporters and so far continue the retaliation series which
even amounted to depriving me of medical treatment, that I
had to perform surgery on myself without anesthesia!

Maybe all these things seem small, and you may see them as
trivial, and I indeed see them as trivial and am willing to
endure them and more, if they were the price for an upcoming
reform and a freedom that we as a great nation deserve.
Unfortunately, everything that has happened and is happening
to me, is used to terrify anyone who thinks of doing what I
did. What is happening to me impounds hope, tomorrow, and
the future.

Unfortunately, I will not ask you for anything for me, though
I believe in your ability ) after God,s - in doing it. But
I am asking you to maintain the hope for coming generations
that I dream will not have to see what I am seeing now.

Dr Ayman Nour
July 12, 2006

End text.


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