Monday, March 06, 2006

Have they no shame?

The Mubarak regime's harassment of Ayman Nour has reached a new low. According to a jailhouse interview with Nour in today's Chicago Tribune, the Egyptian government has found a new way to put pressure on the man who came in second place to Mubarak in last year's presidential race: Now they are threatening his wife.

"Last week, as [Nour's wife Gameela] Ismail prepared to travel to Washington on a private trip, she was charged with assaulting a police officer and destruction of property. She canceled her trip," according to the article.

"[She] is accused of beating a policeman so badly at a political rally last year that he need three weeks of medical care. She was also charged with destroying the officer's video camera during the rally. Ismail has denied all the charges."

The charges already have prevented her from attention a conference on women and democracy in the Middle East.

Of course, harassing family members of political opponents isn't new. Family members of Islamists have routinely been detained in hopes of convincing wanted men to surrender. Others have been arrested simply for their association with suspects.

Routinely, the arrest of these individuals are accompanied by a vicious campaign of disinformation in the government-controlled press. This was what happened to Nour and to Saad Ibrahim. The attack is complete and ruinous. Nour's political career is probably over, and now his two children are faced with the loss of their mother as well as their father.

At the end of the interview, Gameela makes a statement that should stand at the Mubarak motto: "
If you are the opposition, they want to eat you."


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