CAIRO: The attorney general agreed Saturday that the jailed leader of the opposition El-Ghad (Tomorrow) party be transferred to a public hospital as demanded by his family and lawyer, a judicial source said. Maher Abdul Wahid consented that Ayman Nour be moved from the prison hospital where he was being treated for multiple ailments, including diabetes and heart problems, to Kasr Al-Aini, the main public hospital in Cairo. The decision came three days after Nour went on hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention and after his lawyer filed a petition demanding he be moved away from the Mazra Tora prison hospital. I was afraid for his health and life, Nour s lawyer, Amir Salem, told AFP. He added that Nour had also refused to accept medication at the prison hospital to protest conditions at the facility.
Nour s family was concerned also about a recent memorandum circulated by the prison authorities suggesting Nour may commit suicide, which family members interpreted as heralding a plot to murder him in jail, Salem said. So we wanted him transferred to a hospital outside the control of the interior ministry, he said. Nour, who mounted an aggressive challenge to President Hosni Mubarak in the September 2005 presidential poll, was slapped in December with a five-year prison sentence on charges of forgery, which he claims were fabricated. The 41-year-old lawyer complained earlier this month prison authorities had confiscated his books and that he was being prevented from writing articles for his El-Ghad party s weekly journal.
Meanwhile, political activist and Nour’s wife, Gamila Ismail, had complained Saturday of police harassment and asked the nation s prosecutor general to investigate.
Ismail accused a top police officer of intimidating her and other party members.
We, Nour s family, members of his party and his supporters have been subject to continuos violations, Ismail wrote in a letter to Maher Abdel Wahid, the Prosecutor General.
In the letter, a copy of which was faxed to the Associated Press, Ismail accused the officer of harassing her and other Party activists as they have campaigned for Nour s release.
I am appealing to you to bring him to justice, she wrote in the letter.
Ismail claimed both physical and verbal abuse by the police officer, whom she only identified as Gen. Medhat. Nour has said he was jailed for political reasons and filed an appeal. He also demanded suspension of his sentence until the Appeals Court rules.
During his visit to Egypt this week French President Jacques Chirac raised Nour s case with Mubarak.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement Tuesday calling for Chirac to request the release of Nour. President Chirac should tell him (Mubarak) that this persecution undermines Egypt s professed commitment to democratic reforms, Human Rights Watch said.
The case was heavily criticized by the United States because it raised doubts about the sincerity of Mubarak s pledge to open the Egyptian political system.
Nour also lost the parliamentary seat he has held for 10 years in last November s elections. He claimed that was part of the government punishment of him for challenging Mubarak. Agencies