Ayman Nour, an opposition party leader, enjoys all privileges as a longtime member of Parliament, including immunity from arrest. He is entitled to his own opinions and is free to discuss his political beliefs. But Parliament lifted this immunity upon request of the attorney general when Mr. Nour was charged with forging signatures on petitions that secured legal status for his party, Tomorrow's Party.
A distinction must be made between detaining an Egyptian citizen for committing a crime and voicing his opposition with the government.
Like any citizen, Mr. Nour must be tried under the judicial process; if found innocent, he will be released.
Freedom of speech is enjoyed by every Egyptian citizen. One is not arrested because of his political convictions.
Magdi R. Shaker, Press Counselor Mission of Egypt to the U.N., New York, Feb. 7, 2005