Egyptian opposition leader freed from jail

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The Independent Online

The Egyptian opposition politician Ayman Nour has been freed after more than three years in prison on forgery charges he said were politically motivated.

Mr Nour said he planned to continue his work in politics through the opposition Ghad party. “Thanks to God I am released,” he said. “I am going to practise my role as a politician through the Ghad party and through my previous role.”

His wife, Gameela Ismail, said he intended to resume his post as leader of the party. Prosecution sources said Mr Nour was released on health grounds. He was jailed in 2005, shortly after coming a distant second to the incumbent President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt’s first multi-candidate presidential elections.

He said then that the Egyptian government was punishing him for daring to challenge Mr Mubarak, who has ruled the most populous Arab country since 1981. The US administration of the former President George Bush called repeatedly on Egypt to release Mr Nour. Cairo said that its judiciary was independent and not politically motivated.