Ayman Nour, founder of the liberal Ghad Party, wrote an open letter to Barack Obama that began, “the writer of these lines is a man about your age who was, and still is, dreaming like you of change and reforms.. in our countries, legitimate dreams,all too often turn into horrifying nightmares.” He argues his main crime was entering his name to run against a president who has been in office for over 27 years and brooks no opposition to his rule. Nour asks Obama to intervene on his behalf and help secure his release. Since Nour was imprisoned the US government has constantly been urging his release.
In one sense, the Nour case underlines issues confronting any American president. Is it American policy to support regimes which violate basic human rights? Can the US intervene in the domestic affairs of other nations in the name of freedom of speech? Egypt is a time bomb waiting to explode because a virtual dictator refuses to allow freedom. What will happen if Mubarak continues his authoritarian way of ruling?
Asylum seekers in England from the Sudan and Darfur are being returned to certain beatings and torture by the same intelligence figures who are sponsoring attacks upon the people of Darfur. The Aegis Trust, a charity campaigning against genocide in Darfur, has documentary evidence of people who were deported from England back to the Sudan only to be brutally assaulted by members of the Sudan intelligence. As one man stated: “They tied my legs and hung me upside down. They would leave me like that sometimes six or seven hours, sometimes all day.” The Aegis Trust has been smuggling out of the Sudan people who were deported from England.
England is the land which in the 1840s gave refuge to Karl Marx, a German revolutionary, and founder of communism. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the people of Great Britain have offered a warm welcome and refuge to those fleeing brutal dictatorships. It is shocking that the Gordon Brown government continues Tony Blair’s policy of returning dissidents to the horror of the Sudan. It is the Sudanese government which sponsors genocide in Darfur. Can anyone expect such a government to behave with decency and restraint towards individuals who sought asylum abroad?