News24

Egypt bars Nur from travel

2009-11-05 13:14

Cairo - Egypt's top political dissident, Ayman Nur, said on Wednesday he has been barred from travelling to the United States to take part in a seminar.

"Egypt's prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmud has turned down my request for authorisation to travel to the United States," he said.

Nur said he wanted "to take part in conferences organised by the Egyptian community in the US and to speak at a seminar organised by the Council on Foreign Relations."

Freed from prison in February on health grounds after serving three years of a five-year sentence, Nur said he had planned to travel on Friday for a two-week visit to the United States.

But Nur, whose release was welcomed by Washington, only has the right to travel abroad for health reasons, a source in the prosecutor's office said.

"Political motives are behind the refusal to let me travel to the United States" was the response from Nur, who noted he had been allowed to travel to Brussels in May to address the European Parliament.

Nur, a lawyer, set up the Al-Ghad party in 2004 and mounted an unprecedented challenge against Mubarak during the 2005 presidential election before being jailed on forgery charges.

He came a distant second to Mubarak in what was Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential poll, amid violence and allegations of fraud.