Rights groups demand Nour's release

Fourteen Egyptian human rights groups have urged the government to release detained presidential election runner-up Ayman Nour, who is in a prison hospital after starting a hunger strike 10 days ago.

    Ayman Nour is on hunger strike in a prison hospital

    Nour's al-Ghad Party issued a statement on Tuesday signed by 14 groups including the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights that said Nour's trial had "become a means to oppress him and punish him for his political views".

    Nour was detained on 5 December as his trial on forgery charges neared its conclusion. He has pleaded not guilty to ordering the forging of signatures to register his party last year and faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

    "We call for his immediate release since his imprisonment, despite his health condition, is considered unjustifiable obstinacy," said the statement.
     
    Nour, a diabetic, was taken on Saturday to a hospital inside the Tora prison after his health condition deteriorated after starting a hunger strike to protest his detention.

    His trial resumes on Saturday.

    His 29 January arrest and subsequent 42-day detention without charge strained US-Egyptian relations. He finished a distant second to longtime President Hosni Mubarak in a heated September election and lost his parliament seat in November polls.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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