CAIRO: Judge Abdel Salam Gomaa gave no reason for ruling that Nour and his co-accused should be held in prison, but Egyptian judges often make such orders when a guilty verdict is looming.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty to forging signatures on the petition that Nour filed last year to secure the registration of his El-Ghad Party.
The defense team asked the court Monday to postpone the trial for further concluding arguments. The judge granted the adjournment but, to general surprise, ordered the defendants to be held in custody.
Nour finished second to President Hosni Mubarak in the presidential elections in September. But he lost his seat in the first round of the parliamentary elections last month, a result he has appealed.
His arrest on forgery charges on Jan.29,and his detention for 42 days, strained Egypt s relations between the United States and Egypt. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a visit to Egypt in March and, when she came in June, met Nour and other opposition figures.
Prosecutors are seeking a maximum 15-year sentence for Nour, who has said he did not even know some of the other defendants before the trial began.
One of the defendants recanted his testimony in court, saying security agents had threatened his family to force him to implicate Nour. -AP