Abu Ismail calls US documents proving mother’s dual citizenship a ‘fraud’

Recently disqualified presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail said Monday that the Presidential Elections Commission’s documents proving his mother’s American citizenship are “nonsense and fraudulent,” posting annotated photocopies on his Facebook page.

In a phone interview with Al-Hekma satellite TV channel on Monday, the ultraconservative lawyer-turned-preacher said, “We’re facing the biggest process of fraud imaginable. All the papers attached to exclude [me as a candidate] do not include an official document, but intentionally blurred photocopies. It is not clear if they were issued from an American authority.”

Under an Egyptian law issued after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak early last year, both parents of a presidential candidate must never hold another nationality. The commission excluded Abu Ismail after receiving documents from the United States, via Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, showing that his mother became a US national in 2006, shortly before she died.

Abu Ismail’s official Facebook page posted images of the documents on Monday, with handwritten notes in Arabic at the bottom of a letter sent from the US Department of State to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington on 6 April 2012.

Abu Ismail refers to the papers as “the documents that the commission has depended on to exclude me.”

“It has become clear that what the commission has presented is a certificate issued from the American ministry of foreign affairs, but the word ‘American’ is not written on it,” he wrote.

The documents also include a US passport application from his mother, which can only be given to an American national. His mother’s name is written as “Nawal Abdelaziz Nour” and is unveiled in her passport photograph.

“The passport application … is not signed or stamped by the [American] interior ministry. It’s an application that anyone can make at his office so long as he does not sign or take responsibility,” Abu Ismail added.

The Presidential Elections Commission announced Saturday that it would exclude 10 presidential hopefuls, including Abu Ismail, from the race. They have been given 48 hours to appeal the decision to the commission, though they may not challenge it through any other legal avenue.

The commission is expected to issue its final decisions on the eight who appealed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Abu Ismail had emerged as one of the front-runners in the race since the 25 January uprising. He and his followers accuse Western countries and Egypt’s ruling generals, who are concerned by his desire for stronger Islamic law, of trying to eliminate him from next month’s ballot. They held a mass protest against the alleged intervention last Friday.

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