Egypt: Ayman Nour appeals prison term for forgery

Lawyers of a top opposition leader, who was sentenced to five years in prison on forgery charges, have filed an appeal and demanded suspension of his sentence until the Appeals Court rules. The trial of Ayman Nour, who came in a distant second to President Hosni Mubarak in September elections - the first in which the longtime Egyptian leader faced challengers - badly strained US-Egyptian relations. Nour's lawyers told The Associated Press they filed their appeal Saturday on grounds that the court did not provide due process and that the trial was political not judicial. Nour, 41, was convicted Dec. 24 of forging signatures on petitions to register his party before the elections. He said he was brought to trial not because he broke any laws but to eliminate him from politics. The case was heavily criticized by the United States because it raised doubts about the sincerity of Mubarak's pledge to open the Egyptian political system.