Cablegate: Nour Travel Permission Denied


DE RUEHEG #2112 3091618
O 051618Z NOV 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002112



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2019

REF: A. CAIRO 2066
B. CAIRO 2031
C. CAIRO 1857
D. CAIRO 393 Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1.(C) Al-Ghad party founder and former Presidential candidate Ayman Nour announced November 4 that Public Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmud had rejected his request for permission to travel to the United States. Nour said the decision was politically motivated and that it violates his constitutional right to travel. Representatives from the Prosecutor's office told the media that the conditions of Nour's release February 18, 2009 on medical parole only permit him to travel abroad for medical treatment. The GoE permitted Nour to travel to Europe in April 2009. During that trip Nour underwent medical treatment but also gave a speech before the European Parliament.

2.(C) Nour has told emboffs that he has never received a copy of documents related to his release indicating either the type of release (or parole) or its terms. Nour's November 4 statement cites a ruling by the Administrative Court (not yet implemented by the Public Prosecutor) which he claims would change his status from "paroled" to "released." However, at least one lawyer familiar with the case told us it is unclear whether this would in any case automatically clear Nour for travel.

3.(C) Nour had planned to participate in several events in Washington, including speaking engagements at a November 17 conference sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on the prospects for democratic reform in the Middle East, a November 20 policy seminar hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a luncheon in his honor at the Council on Foreign Relations and an event organized by the Coalition of Egyptian Organizations, U.S.A. Nour's staff have indicated he will participate in the NED event via web-conference and will record a video message that will be sent to the other organizations.

4.(C) Comment: Ambassador and Emboffs have raised Nour's permission to travel numerous times at senior levels, most recently with FM Aboul Gheit November 3 in the presence of Secretary Clinton. Nour has in recent weeks launched a political/media campaign called "Egyptians against Succession" aimed, he said, at preventing President Mubarak's son Gamal from assuming the Presidency. The campaign has garnered only limited support from other opposition parties to date. End Comment. Scobey

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