Monday, September 10, 2007

A convenient suicide

In Egypt:

One of the key witnesses and defendants in the trial of Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour was found hanged in his prison cell in central Cairo yesterday morning, security sources said.

Ayman Esmail Hassan, who during Nour's trial retracted his testimony against the politician, hanged himself with a sheet in the prison where he was serving a five-year sentence on a charge of forging documents, they added.

Hassan said he had made up his testimony under pressure from state security police, who had threatened members of his family.

"I confessed to forgery under pressure from officers from state security," Hassan told reporters on June 30, 2005, after his lawyer told the court he had changed his plea to not guilty.

The court disregarded his retraction and went on to sentence both Ayman Nour and Ayman Hassan to five years in prison.

Nour, who came a distant second to President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections in September 2005, says the authorities fabricated the case against him to exclude him from politics.
Via Sandmonkey, who comments:
You kind of get the feeling that the Egyptian government isn't even trying to pretend or save face anymore.

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