Friday, May 19, 2006

More Police Violence in Egypt and the fate of Ayman Nour

Countries protest, but again:

Despite U.S. criticism, police beat pro-reform protesters in the streets and arrested more than 300 for the second week in a row Thursday as Egyptian courts dealt new setbacks to activists seeking greater democracy.

While club-wielding police chased activists in downtown Cairo, a court rejected the appeal of prominent opposition leader Ayman Nour, the runner-up in last year's presidential elections. The ruling means Nour will have to serve a five-year prison sentence on forgery charges he says are intended to eliminate him from politics.

The United States sharply criticized the ruling, saying it and the violence "raise serious concerns about the path to political reform in Egypt."

From the end of the article:

The two reform judges, el-Bastawisi and Mahmoud Mekki, had become heroes of the reform movement after they blew the whistle on fraud during parliament elections in November and December. Activists have been outraged that the government put them before a disciplinary court rather than investigate the reports of fraud.

Last year, Mubarak contested presidential elections on a platform promising political and constitutional reforms, including ending emergency laws that activists say are used to stifle opposition.

Since then, emergency laws have been extended, municipality elections have been postponed apparently to prevent Brotherhood gains and hundreds of activists have been arrested.

Egyptian officials deny the government is backpedalling on reforms and Mubarak has counseled patience, saying change takes time.

Gateway Pundit has that story with links to Sandmonkey and Freedom For Egyptians, who have much more knowledgable coverage of the judges issue than I. (link)

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