|Wikileaks:||View 05CAIRO2506 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PHUM PGOV PREL KDEM EG Ayman Nour|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002506 SIPDIS NSC STAFF FOR ABRAMS/POUNDS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2015 TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, PREL, KDEM, EG, Ayman Nour SUBJECT: EGYPT: AYMAN NOUR REFERRED TO TRIAL REF: A. CAIRO 2285 B. CAIRO 2254 C. CAIRO 2202 Classified by acting ECPO Counselor Al Magleby for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). ------- Summary ------- 1. (C) The Egyptian public prosecutor's office announced on March 26 that opposition leader Ayman Nour and five codefendants would stand trial for forgery beginning June 28. Although the venue for the trial has not yet been publicly announced, a senior Ghad Party contact claimed to us that the case has been assigned to the same disreputable judge who tried the Saad Eddin Ibrahim case. Nour remains steadfast in his assertions that the case against him has been fabricated for political reasons and confident that the trial will backfire against the GOE and increase his public support. Both Nour's lawyers and GOE judicial contacts assert that Nour's indictment does not necessarily bar him from candidacy. End summary. --------------- A Date in Court --------------- 2. (C) The office of Egypt's public prosecution announced on March 26 that Ayman Nour and five codefendants will stand trial for forgery and related charges on June 28. As reported ref C, Nour asserts that his codefendants are members of a criminal forgery gang hired by Egyptian state security to penetrate his office and the Ghad Party in order to fabricate a case against him. In a March 28 meeting with visiting staffdel Weinberg, Nour alleged that the court date, three months after the completion of the prosecutor's investigation, was timed to maximize disruption to his presidential campaign and the Ghad Party's parliamentary campaigns. ------------ Venue Rumors ------------ 3. (C) Although judicial authorities have yet to publicly announce the circuit and venue for Nour's trial, senior Ghad Party contact Hisham Kassem (protect) told us on March 28 that his reliable sources were reporting that the case will be tried by Judge Adel Abdel Salam Gom'a. Gom'a's reputation precedes him in Cairo's legal-political circles. Gom'a has been selected to try many politically sensitive cases, most prominently the case of Saad Eddin Ibrahim (SEI), whom he twice convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. (Note: Both judgments were overturned on appeal. The Court of Cassation's final published verdict on the SEI case read as a stinging critique of the legal reasoning offered by the prosecution, and accepted by Judge Gom'a, to convict him in the first instance. End note.) Nour, who had been advised by Kassem of Gom'a's reported assignment, fumed about it in his meeting with staffdel Weinberg. "There are 5,000 judges in Egypt and they chose this man to try me - what does that mean?" he asked rhetorically. Kassem privately told us that Nour had been shaken by the news. 4. (C) Comment: Having watched Judge Gom'a in action during the SEI trial, we believe his reputation of being a willing tool in political cases is well earned. However, in the absence of more information, we are not yet prepared to treat reports of Judge Gom'a's assignment as fact, although Kassem, a highly reliable source, was confident of his information. If true, Gom'a's assignment would be an ominous sign and will surely not aid the GOE's efforts to convince observers that Nour's is a "purely" criminal case. End comment. ------------ Implications ------------ 5. (C) In our March 28 meeting with Nour, the embattled politician remained steadfast in his view that the GOE's actions against him were increasing public sympathy that would eventually translate into political capital in his favor. "They (the GOE) are putting themselves in a terrible position," Nour stated, vowing he would "put the government on trial with him." Members of Nour's defense team, and contacts in Egypt's Ministry of Justice, have both told us that Nour's referral to trial does not necessarily affect his legal status as a presidential candidate (refs A and B). However, the modalities for the competitive presidential elections proposed by President Mubarak are still being hammered out by parliament and may not be announced until May. It is possible that legislators could include a clause excluding those facing criminal indictment from participation in the presidential race. In any case, Nour's bravado notwithstanding, it is obvious that the trial will deprive Nour and the Ghad Party of much of the time, energy, and resources they would need to make a significant showing in the fall elections. Visit Embassy Cairo's Classified Website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/cairo You can also access this site through the State Department's Classified SIPRNET website. GRAY
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