An Egyptian court extended the detention of liberal politician and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour on Saturday until today, when his trial on forgery charges resumes, Nour’s lawyer said.
Nour, who was confined to a cage in the court room during Saturday’s hearing, was President Hosni Mubarak’s main rival in Egypt’s first presidential election in September, winning 8 percent of the vote,compared with 89 percent for Mubarak.
Nour was first held in January for questioning and released in March after the United States put pressure on the government. He was then charged with submitting forged signatures when his opposition El-Ghad Party applied last year for legal recognition.
Washington said it was watching Nour’s trial closely after the court ruled on Monday that Nour be detained again, until Saturday’s session.
“The judge ordered their (the defendant’s) detention … Until the next session, one of Nour’s defence lawyers, Amir Salim, said after Saturday’s hearing, adding that the court would reconvene on Dec. 12.
Nour,who appeared in court in white overalls worn by detainees, is being tried with six others who also face forgery charges. One of the defendants is being tried in absentia.
About 100 of Nour’s supporters gathered outside the court building, holding up pictures of Nour, a 41-year-old lawyer, and chanting “Ayman is innocent and “Freedom for Ayman Nour. Nour and his supporters say the charges are political and were designed to derail his presidential campaign. The government says the case is a judicial not a political matter.
“The case is a political vendetta …The aim of it is to get rid of a stubborn political adversary, Fareed El-Deeb, another lawyer on Nour’s team, told the court on Saturday.