Egyptian human rights lawyer and opposition leader Khaled Ali is to stand in next year’s presidential election provided he’s not barred from the contest.
Ali told a news conference he would be running on a socialist programme, aiming to end austerity and fight terrorism but not at the expense of individual rights.
“Of course, we are expecting this adminstration to show many forms of supression and tyranny. However, we are still putting ourselves forward to represent the Egyptian people. Our decision today to announce our campaign does not mean that we will stand idly by and let them.”
A Cairo court sentenced Ali in September to three months in jail for public indecency, over an allegedly rude hand gesture.
Ali has appealed, denying the charges which he says are politically motivated. If the guilty verdict is upheld he will not be allowed to run, even if he is not jailed.
Ali is the first person to announce running against President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi, a former military commander who led the oustering of former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood over four years ago.
Ali has consistently criticised Sisi for cracking down on individual freedoms. Under Sisi thousands of dissidents have been jailed and the government has shut down independent media.