Mubarak challenger loses appeal

Jailed opposition leader Ayman Nour's appeal case is rejected by Egyptian court.

    Nour has been in jail for more than three years after receiving a five year term [AFP]

    Amir Salem, a human rights activist and Nour's principal lawyer, said that Nour "has been awaiting his appeal in his prison cell, spending his time writing letters to human rights organisations".
    He also addressed letters to Fathi Sourour, head of Egypt's parliament.
    "In his letters to human rights organisations, both local and international, Nour writes of serious violations of his civil, prisoner and constitutional rights," Salem said.
    Nour is serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly forging signatures on petitions to register his political party.
    He complained earlier this year of heart and eye problems, but an Egyptian court in July turned down his request to review whether his jail sentence was endangering his health.
    Presidential ambition
    The politician, who came a distant second to Mubarak, is serving a five-year sentence on fraud charges. Nour argues that the authorities fabricated the charges to exclude him from government.
    A diabetic dependent on insulin, Nour has undergone cardiovascular surgery while in prison.
    Nour's imprisonment further narrows the already slim chances of opposition candidates' wishing to run in presidential elections – either six years from now, if they are held on schedule, or earlier, if Mubarak resigns or dies.
    Under complex rules set by Mubarak, only parties that hold at least six per cent of the seats in parliament can field a candidate.
    Nour's political party, El Ghad won only one seat in the recent elections, and other opposition parties also fared badly.
    The Muslim Brotherhood succeeded to pass the six per cent threshold, but its winning candidates ran as independents because the organisation is outlawed and not a recognised political party.
    Independents can run only if they are approved by councils dominated by Mubarak's party.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and Agencies


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