Egypt May Free Opposition Leader

1.jpgCAIRO, May 22–Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour could be released Tuesday on medical grounds after a year in jail, Egyptian press said.

The Al-Ahram daily said on its front page that an administrative tribunal is set to examine his request for release due to his deteriorating health and “a positive decision over his release is expected”.

The opposition leader who heads the Al-Ghad party was sentenced in December 2005 to five years in prison on fraud charges, widely seen as politically motivated.

Nour came a distant second in the country’s first ever multi-candidate presidential elections in September 2005, which the opposition dismissed as widely rigged.

According to rights groups, Nour who suffers from diabetes and a heart complication has seen his health deteriorating rapidly in jail.

The former lawmaker became famous around the world following his January 2005 imprisonment by the Mubarak government.

The incarceration was seen around the world as politically motivated, causing a lot of internal anger and foreign pressure for his release.

The Al-Ghad party was formally recognized by the Egyptian government on October 27, 2004. Following its creation, Nour was elected president of the party at its first convention a few days later.

His prominence as an independent MP made him the star of the party and one of the driving forces behind its organization.

Nour fought hard to get the party recognized but its application was rejected three times before official status was finally granted.

The party was created to represent a liberal democratic perspective, with a strong interest in human rights issues.

Nour used the party as a platform to call for constitutional reform, limiting the president’s powers and opening presidential elections to multiple candidates.

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