CAIRO: A decision on whether to release Egypt s jailed opposition leader Ayman Nour on medical grounds was postponed on Tuesday pending a medical examination.
A judge announced that a committee of medical experts appointed by the ministry of justice will carry out further tests on Nour, an insulin-dependent diabetic, before giving its decision on June 12.
I m very disappointed, his wife and campaign manager Gamila Ismail said. I don t know how long this will last, weeks, months … I m just not sure Ayman s health can handle it.
The firebrand opposition figure, who stood against President Hosni Mubarak in an election in 2005, is serving a five-year jail term for forging affidavits needed to set up his Ghad party.
In February, a committee of experts appointed by the government and made up of members of the medical profession and the prison authority concluded he was fit enough to serve out his jail sentence.
But Nour appealed and has repeatedly claimed he was not receiving proper medical care in prison.
The judge at the hearing read out the postponement decision for both Nour s case and that of a convicted drug dealer also requesting an early release on medical grounds.
Handling the two cases at the same time was a further attempt by the regime to humiliate Ayman Nour, Ismail said.
The state-owned Al-Ahram, quoting informed sources, had said Nour was expected to be released on Tuesday.
When I saw the Al-Ahram piece, I was very optimistic, because the paper is so close to the regime, said Ismail, who visited her husband in jail on Monday and described his state of health as worrying .
About 20 Nour supporters gathered outside the Cairo courthouse before the hearing carrying signs supporting Nour and lashing out at the regime.
Corrupt and cowardly regime, where are the human rights? read one sign, while another said Justice and Constitution, release Ayman Nour.
Nour was jailed in December 2005 just three months after coming a distant second in the country s first ever multi-candidate presidential election, during which he mounted a daring campaign against veteran leader Mubarak.