Ayman Nur: Reply to the written question of Emma Bonino by Benita Ferrero-Waldner on behalf of the EC

March 1, 2005

The Commission dealt with the Ayman Nour case right from the time of his arrest on 29 January 2005. The Commission also followed with similar attention the case of the lawyer Ayman Barakata, Managing Director of Ayman Nour's Legal Office, arrested with the same charge of counterfeit and falsification.

The Commission made an effort in investigating the reasons and circumstances of the arrest, through its offices in Brussels and in Cairo. Hence, it activated contacts with the Egyptian authorities and representatives of the civil society. Moreover, the Commission acted in close contact with the Member States, who give high importance to this case, and continues working in close collaboration with them.

On the basis of elements gathered, the link between the arrest and the current debate on political reform in Egypt caused apprehension on the part of the Commission, particularly with regard to the manner and time of arrest on the eve of a national dialogue between different political forces. Through contacts of the Commission, the Egyptian authorities showed concern in providing guarantee on the purely juridical and not political motive of the arrest.

On this basis, the Commission trusts that there will be an appropriate solution within the hands of the judiciary, in view of their independence and capacity to guarantee the full application of relevant international conventions of which Egypt is a signatory.

The Honourable Member can be reassured that the Commission will continue following the case and will use all channels of dialogue with Egyptian authorities, particularly within the framework of the EU-Egypt Association Agreement.