First Published: 2005-03-08

Egypt bars jailed opposition leader's newspaper

Ayman Nur announces his intention to run for president in first issue of Al-Ghad recalled by authorities.


Middle East Online

Nur has become for some a symbol of the movement for democratic reform

CAIRO - Egypt on Tuesday blocked the distribution of the first issue of jailed Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nur's newspaper in which he announces his intention to run for president, his wife said.

"The newspaper was printed but even as the copies were in the cars on their way to being distributed, they were recalled," Gamila Ismail said.

Nur was arrested in January on charges of "falsifying official documents" but his detention comes amid intense political upheaval in Egypt and he has become for some a symbol of the movement for democratic reform.

In the first issue of Al-Ghad (Tomorrow), which was due to hit the newsstands Tuesday, Nur announced his intention to run in the presidential election later this year.

"He wrote a letter that he gave to me two days ago and that was published in the newspaper in which he said he would be a candidate in the elections," Ismail said.

"He had been thinking about it since the constitutional amendment. Of course he knows he won't win and the circumstances surrounding this election will be such that it will be very difficult for other candidates," she added.

In late February, Egyptian President Mubarak, who has ruled over the country unchallenged for 23 years, proposed a constitutional amendment allowing for multi-candidate presidential elections.

Nur's party lawyer Amir Salem said the newspaper had a deal with the government daily Al-Ahram for printing and distribution "but the workers there were told last night by state security people to stop the distribution.

"What we heard is that the newspaper has been stopped until the attorney general reviews it," he said.


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