Egypt’s best known opposition leader has been set free after three years in jail.
Ayman Nour was imprisoned after challenging the country’s president in the 2005 elections. His unexpected release follows years of pressure from the United States. “I got released unconditionally without any deals with the government,” he said. “And if we were offered any deals I wouldn’t have accepted. I got released to resume my political activities and I am very happy to have been freed. This will reflect positively on the Al-Ghad party (of which he is leader) and our political freedom and I will do my utmost to serve my country.” Nour’s incarceration cast a shadow over Egyptian-US relations and his sudden release by the authorities is being seen by diplomats as a gesture to improve ties with President Barack Obama’s new administration. The Egyptian prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Nour’s release was ordered on health grounds.