• Obama
  • August 13, 2008
  • 7 minutes read

Jailed Nur urges Obama to back Arab democracy

Jailed Nur urges Obama to back Arab democracy

CAIRO – Jailed Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nur called on US presidential hopeful Barack Obama to support human rights in the Arab world in a letter published on Wednesday.


Nur, who was sentenced to jail in 2005 on fraud charges widely seen as politically motivated, praised Obama as “a talented model who can inspire the dream of freedom and change”, in the letter published in the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm.


“Supporters of reform and freedom, led by the prisoners of conscience in Egypt, Syria and Palestine and others, expect of you a clear and continuous position of support for their right to life and freedom and hope for change,” Nur wrote.


“We expect a great deal of you as a Democratic candidate, and as a president we expect you to lead the world towards real and just change,” he said.


“Advocates of reform and democracy and liberals in Egypt and in the Arab world hope that 20 January, 2009 will be a celebration of freedom and democracy, not only in the United States but across the world, in order to repair the damage of the long years supporting tyrants,” he said.


Nur, 44, came a distant second after President Hosni Mubarak in the country”s first ever contested presidential elections in 2005.


He was sentenced to five years in jail later the same year for forging affidavits needed to set up his Ghad party.


In the letter, Nur said the “real reason” he was jailed was for challenging a president who has ruled the country for 27 years and that he posed a “threat” to his son”s dream of taking over power.


Despite repeated denials, rumours continue about an eventual takeover of power by Gamal Mubarak, the president”s younger son and head of the ruling National Democratic Party”s politburo.