Egypt: Trial of opposition candidate starts
Egypt's prominent opposition candidate for president pleaded innocent to forgery charges in the opening of his trial Tuesday. Hundreds of his followers swarmed the court building denouncing the case as a government attempt to eliminate a legitimate rival.
According to The AP, the prosecution of Ayman Nour has created tension between Egypt and the United States. US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, met Nour among a group of pro-reform politicians during a visit to Cairo last week.
In the courtroom, Nour denied forging signatures to get his opposition al-Ghad Party registered during 2004. Nour accused the government of framing him. American Embassy officials were attending the trial as observers.
If convicted, Nour would lose his right to run for office and could face a prison term of up to 15 years. "A crime has been fabricated, and a situation by which the authorities can benefit has been created either to pressure me, or to try to obstruct my election campaign or to tarnish my image before the voters," he told The Associated Press the evening before the trial.