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Resolution adopted by consensus the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session*
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Ayman Nour, a member of the People's Assembly of Egypt at the time of the submission of the communication regarding him, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/182/12(b)-R.1-Add.),

Considering that Mr. Ayman Nour, founder of the opposition Al-Ghad party who stood in the presidential elections of September 2005, had his parliamentary immunity lifted on 29 January 2005 and was immediately afterwards arrested on charges of forgery and counterfeiting for the purpose of registering his party; on 24 December 2005, he was found guilty and sentenced to a five-year prison term, which was upheld at last instance and which he is currently serving; Mr. Nour's health is said to be poor; a petition for release on medical grounds which Mr. Nour filed in August 2006 was rejected on the basis of an official medical report of January 2007 to the effect that Mr. Nour's continuing imprisonment did not endanger his life; appeals against that decision were rejected at final instance, on 17 March 2008, by the High Administrative Court; Mr. Nour's lawyer has now lodged a pardon petition with the Head of State; in mid-May 2007, Mr. Nour was assaulted by security officers in court where he had to attend a hearing in connection with another case; on 6 September 2007 one of Mr. Nour's co-accused, Mr. Ayman Hassan  Ismail El-Refa'y, who had retracted his statement against Mr. Nour and expressed the wish to give new evidence in the case, was found hanged in his cell, which he shared with three other prisoners; the authorities claim he committed suicide,

Noting that, owing to the largely conflicting information provided by the authorities and the sources on almost all aspects of this case, in particular regarding Mr. Nour's arrest, the registration of his political party, the circumstances of his co-accused, the judicial proceedings, the physical assault on Mr. Nour of May 2007, his conditions of detention, his state of health and the medical treatment he is afforded, the Committee suggested that an on-site mission to Egypt could help it clarify the facts surrounding these issues,

Stressing in this regardthat missions are worthwhile only if the Committee's delegation can also visit the individual member of parliament concerned and that the Committee and indeed the IPU has consistently upheld this requirement throughout the Committee's thirty-year history,

Considering that the Attorney General, however, refused to allow the Committee's delegation to meet with Mr. Nour on the ground that such a visit would be contrary to Egyptian law and an interference with the Egyptian judiciary; noting, that according to the sources, a representative of the African Union visited an Egyptian prison on 18 August 2007, that a journalist visited Mr. Nour in prison in January 2007, and that the international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch was authorized to visit Egyptian prisons in the 1990s and issued a report thereon,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of the People's Assembly for his consistent cooperation with the Committee in this case and for his efforts to organize the proposed mission;

  2. Is convinced that such a mission would go a long way in contributing to a satisfactory settlement of this case; consequently expresses the hope that the Attorney General will reconsider his decision;

  3. Stresses thatmeeting Mr. Nour can in no way be considered an affront or interference with the Egyptian judicial system and that its sole purpose is to gather first-hand information from the person concerned himself;

  4. Believes also that authorizing the visit to Mr. Nour would constitute a further demonstration of Egypt's attachment to human rights and transparency and follow the practice of many other countries which allow and even encourage such visits;

  5. Earnestly hopes, in the light of the Committee's increasing concerns in this case, especially as regards Mr. Nour's health, that the mission can go ahead as quickly as possible in order that, at its next session on the occasion of the 119th IPU Assembly (October 2008), it may have the benefit of the information gathered by the Committee;

  6. Requests the Committee to inform the authorities and the sources accordingly.

* The delegation of Egypt expressed its reservation regarding the resolution, in particular with respect to its preambular paragraphs and stated that the Egyptian judiciary had ruled on the case, including Mr. Nour's petition for early release, and that those matters were therefore not open to questioning.
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