Saturday, March 12, 2005

Reuters : Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour was ordered released on bail from prison

Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour was ordered released on bail from prison, a judicial official said Saturday, a detention that had caused tension with Washington.

Egypt released on bail on Saturday Ayman Nour, an opposition leader who has been in detention since the end of January, the public prosecutor said.

Maher Abdel-Wahed told a news conference Nour and five others had been freed on bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,724) each in connection with the case involving allegations that Nour's Ghad (Tomorrow) party forged documents when it applied for recognition last year.

The prosecutor said the investigation was continuing.

The party has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated fabrications.
"They are in the process of getting him (Nour) out of the court room," Ghad party member Mazen Mostafa told Reuters after the announcement, adding that some procedural issues had to be completed before Nour could walk out.

Party members were preparing a greeting party later on Saturday at Ghad's offices in central Cairo, Mostafa said.

A close associate of Nour left jail on Friday after more than five weeks of detention for questioning about allegations against Nour.

Nour has been a vocal advocate of constitutional change and welcomed President Hosni Mubarak's proposal last month to change the constitution to allow multi-candidate elections to replace the existing single-candidate referendum.

He announced his intention to run for the presidency in the first edition of the party's newspaper that came out this week.

The proposal to amend the constitution is currently working its way through parliament.

The United States has said it has "very strong concerns" about the Nour case but Nour has said he has not asked for and does not want any foreign intervention.

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