Cairo Court Refuses to Release Ayman Nour on Medical Grounds

The Cairo Criminal Court, presided by Justice Adel Abdel Salam Gomaa, yesterday turned down a request by Attorney General Council Abdel Meguid Mahmoud to consider releasing Ayman Nour, leader of the al-Ghad Party, on health grounds according to the medical papers submitted by his wife.

The court decided instead that he remains in prison. Media representatives, journalists, lawyers and Nour’s wife and his supporters were prevented from entering the courtroom, and were not informed of the ruling till after it was issued. They were informed by Gen. Adel el-Deerie, Director of Police Deportations. Nour’s supporters and lawyers were infuriated after they knew of the court’s rejection.

Nour’s attorneys and media representatives had come to the courtroom very early on Thursday and waited long for Nour, but he did not arrive from his prison.

Nour’s lawyer then requested from the Director of Deportations to allow him to enter the courtroom, but he prevented and informed him that he had received instructions from the Chief Justice not to allow anyone into the courtroom except defendants whose cases were being looked into.

After the defense panel rallied and insisted on entering the court and meeting with the Chief Justice, the Director of Deportations told them that he had issued a decision rejecting the request and ordering Nour to complete the sentence, adding: “You can submit a new challenge.”

Defense lawyer Amir Salem described what happened as a farce, saying he would file a report against the officers who prevented the defense team from entering the court to make sure of that which was attributed to the Chief Justice, words and deeds, and said that the Code of Criminal Procedures stipulated the presence of the defendant and his lawyer for the challenge to be looked into.

Gamila Ismail, Nour’s wife, said the regime did not want to release her husband. She was lifting up pictures she says were taken in prison, showing that Nour was tortured. But a security source said the photographs had been fabricated.

Cairo Security Deputy Chief General Mohamed al-Fakhrani told ’al-Masry al-Youm’ that the Interior Ministry was not a party in what happened, and that the police abided by the provisions of the law and were keen on treating the attendance with due respect.

Its role was only to enforce the decisions of the Court. He added that Nour had been due to arrive at the court shortly after its inception, but the Chief Justice told him that he did not need Ayman Nour to be present. So it was decided to return Nour to prison again. Al-Fakhrani continued that the Court was the body empowered with the interpretation and application of the law.

The session started at 9:30 am, with none of Nour’s lawyers present in the courtroom till after its inception, i.e. after the decision to reject the challenge had been issued.

A security source said: “Nour is responsible for his own delay in arriving at the court because, whenever they hold hearings that he is supposed to appear before, he sometimes refuses to leave his cell or refuses to get out of the car, and the officers cannot forcibly remove him or else he will accuse them of torturing and beating him.”

In response, Amir Salim stated that he had arrived at 8:30 am and tried to enter but the police prevented him, so he waited in front of the court.

The Court said the reasons for its refusal were the forensic report’s assurance that the diseases Nour had were not life threatening, whereas the private reports issued by doctors not affiliated to the official bodies could not be validated by the court as they were announced by doctors who may make compliments.

The Court based its ruling on the forensic medical report issued by the official concerned body, noting also that it is the right of the prosecutors to accept the writ or reject it, or refer it to the Court. Adding that the diseases Nour suffers from are not ones that “permit” him to be released, but are not compulsory diseases.

The Court concluded that it alone has the right to consider the writ in the decision for a medical release as it was the party that issued the ruling to deposit him in prison.

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