Opposition Leader Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad party in Cairo Egypt Might Be Released Saturday According to Egyptelection.com News Source

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According to Egyptelection.com legal experts, Nour would not be allowed to run in either presidential or parliamentary elections while the case is still being investigated, or in court.

(EgyptElection.com - Mar 04, 2005) -- Opposition leader Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad party in Cairo Egypt might be released Saturday according to http://www.egyptelection.com News source.

Nour, 40, the leader of the Al-Ghad Party, was detained in January on allegations of forging nearly 2,000 signatures to secure a license for his party in 2004. He denies the accusation.

http://www.egyptelection.com News source reported that Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad party in Egypt might be released Saturday.

However, it is not yet clear if Nour will be freed on bail and referred to the criminal court, or cleared of the charges against him.

According to legal experts, Nour would not be allowed to run in either presidential or parliamentary elections while the case is still being investigated, or in court.

International rights groups have condemned Nour's detention as politically motivated. The prosecutor general has denied this.

Three weeks prior to his arrest, the party had submitted a draft constitution -- meant to replace the one currently in use -- to the People's Assembly. The draft called for replacing the presidential referendum system with fully democratic presidential elections within a parliamentary republic, thereby curtailing the president's unlimited powers.

It was though that drafts constitution that landed the young party leader in jail. The recent announcement by Mubarak to change the constitution sparked similar speculation. "After the US administration criticised the government for detaining Nour and said his detention threatens democracy in Egypt, Mubarak had no choice but to take that step," said a party member who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Ayman Nour has declared that he will appoint himself as the chief editor of alghad news paper due for launching next week” according to http://www.egyptelection.com News source . Nour, meanwhile, he is very concerned about the newspaper's future which he considers the only means of support available for him now."

Nour who is diabetic with heart problems began hunger strike two days after prison officials refused to transfer him to a nearby hospital after he fell ill following six hours of interrogations by state security prosecutors.

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights in a 22 February statement calling for an international campaign to demand his immediate release.

"The investigations could have taken place outside prison, and in accordance with the Egyptian Constitution," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Democracy and Reform, composed of three human rights organisations, also called upon Prosecutor-General Abdel-Wahed to release Nour immediately, due to his deteriorating health.

Rice's support for Nour was seen by many as indication of a direct connection between the party and the US, Nour denied those claims from his prison cell. "The party has never received money from any foreign body, and will not be dragged into such trivial battles."

In the first Egyptian reaction, the spokesman for the Egyptian presidency Suleiman Awad stressed Cairo's rejection of foreign intervention in Nour's case. He said that this matter is a subject for the judiciary.

According to http://www.egyptelection.com News source Supporters of the Egyptian al-Ghad opposition party demonstrated in Cairo on Tuesday demanding the release of the detained leader of the party Ayman Nour

His supporters called for his release in a gathering at Al-Ghad's offices near in central lifting banners bearing Nour's photograph Cairo” Support Ayman Nour for the sake of freedom,". Riot police waited outside the building to ensure his followers did not take to the street.

The demonstrators clashed with the riot police who interfered to disperse the demonstrators who raised "orange colour" signs, in remarks to the peaceful revolution which toppled the balances of the elections in Ukraine recently and toppled the government.

It is thought that even if prosecutors decide to put Nour on trial, the populist politician is likely to be freed on bail because "cases similar to that of Nour's do not provide for the accused to remain in prison while on trial.

Last Saturday, the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he had asked the parliament to introduce amendments to permit choosing the President of the republic from among more than one candidate. He also asked for putting what he called guarantees to make sure of the seriousness of the candidate to get the nomination of the People's Assembly which is mostly controlled by the ruling national party.

Nour, meanwhile, made a statement from jail, describing President Hosni Mubarak's initiative to amend Article 76 of the Constitution as "a very important and courageous move towards comprehensive political and constitutional reform, an Al-Ghad Party demand." In reaction to Mubarak's surprise announcement, the popular MP decided to end the hunger strike that he started on 24 February to protest against his detention.

The Al-Ghad Party said it would only issue a detailed statement about the positive implications of the president's proposed constitutional amendment following Nour's release. On Tuesday, party members demonstrated outside the prosecutor- general's office, calling for his release.

Amid extensive speculation regarding Nour's intention to run for this year's presidential elections, party members predicted that his case was still far from being resolved.

According to http://www.egyptelection.com legal experts, Nour would not be allowed to run in either presidential or parliamentary elections while the case is still being investigated, or in court.


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Sam Okba