Accessibility links

Egyptian Opposition Leader Released on Bail

  • Ursula Lindsey

Opposition leader Ayman Nour was released from jail on Saturday evening in Cairo, after almost six weeks of detention. Mr. Nour is a member of parliament and the head of the newly established al-Ghad party. He was detained in late January while being investigated on charges of forgery. His supporters said the charges were politically motivated, and that there was no reason to keep him in prison during the investigation.

For the last six weeks, the members of the al-Ghad party have held frequent demonstrations, calling for the release of their leader.

Now Mr. Nour is free on bail. Party official Wael Nawara says charges will still probably be brought against him.

"He has not been indicted yet on formal charges, but I think he's being released pending further investigations or pending further indictments," he said.

Nour was detained in late January on charges of forgery. He was accused of forging signatures of founding members on his party's application for establishment.

His supporters said the charges were unfounded. U.S. and other Western officials criticized the Egyptian government for his arrest.

Mr. Nawara says there was no need to detain the parliamentarian.

"Legally speaking he in fact should never have been in detention. He could have been interrogated while still a free man," Mr. Nawara said. "There was no fear of him leaving the country. He has a known residence, and he is president of a party and a member of parliament. So he should not have been detained in the first place."

From his prison cell, Mr. Nour recently announced his desire to run in the upcoming presidential elections. On February 26 President Hosni Mubarak asked parliament to amend the constitution to allow for the country's first multi-candidate elections.

Mr. Nawara says the party will have to agree to Mr. Nour's candidacy. He says the party leader will be eligible to run as long as he is not found guilty of the charges brought against him.

XS
SM
MD
LG