RN welcomes Dr. Ayman Nour to Advisory Board

27/07/2011

In welcoming Dr. Ayman Nour to the Board of Right to Nonviolence, RN Chairman Chibli Mallat expressed the importance of Ayman Nour’s work for human rights and democracy across the Middle East: “I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Nour in Cairo and in Beirut at short intervals in this crucial moment of transition to democracy in our countries. Rarely has a former prisoner of opinion exuded such a commitment to a Middle East free of violence, and a vision to carry it out, in Egypt and elsewhere. I like to think that the evening in Beirut with Amid Carlos Edde and Dr. Ayman Nour, is a highly symbolic moment for democracy in the Middle East.”

Dr. Ayman Nour, one of the most prominent dissidents in the Middle East, is the founding president of El Ghad, the centrist secular party established in Egypt in 2004 around broad campaigns for human rights and constitutional reform, and specific calls for limits on executive power and multiple presidential candidates. A longtime opponent of Mubarak’s extended rule, he was imprisoned several times since 1979 for his work for democracy in Egypt. Despite threats and constraints, and building on the echo of the Cedar Revolution on the streets of Cairo in 2005, he challenged Mubarak in 2005 to the presidency, garnering 8% of the popular vote despite widespread irregularities and accusations of electoral fraud. He was punished by the Egyptian dictator with four years of additional jail, and was released in 2009 following intense domestic and international pressure on the Egyptian government.

A successful lawyer and businessman, Dr. Nour began his career as a journalist for the leading opposition newspaper El Wafd focusing on cases of corruption and torture that led to him being arrested and subjected to physical violence on a number of occasions. He was the youngest Member of Parliament in Egypt’s history, elected at the age of 31 in 1995 and serving until 2005. A leading figure of the revolution of 2011, he called in a famous speech for Mubarak to leave before that message became the dominant slogan in the Nile Revolution. Dr. Nour has been a staunch advocate for greater participation of women and youth in politics and government, for human rights, and Egyptian sovereignty. Widely respected across Egypt for his record as a political prisoner and as public servant, Dr. Nour specifically calls in his party platform for accountability with respect to corruption, elimination of discriminatory laws, modernization of the security sector, and economic reform. He is the author of a number of books and political texts most notably Liberalism is the Solution (1984), New Egypt 2020 (2004), and Secret Messages from Behind the Bars of Egyptian Prisons (2008).

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