Egyptian publisher of book about ElBaradei released

Mon Apr 5, 2010 1:14pm GMT

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian publisher of a book about Mohamed ElBaradei, the former U.N. nuclear watchdog head who has said he might run for president, has been released after a brief detention, a security official said on Monday.

Ahmed Mahanna, the head of Dawan publishing house who was detained on Saturday, was held to examine his publishing permits, the official said.

"He is in his home now," said rights activist and friend of Mahanna, Mohamed Ali.

Mahanna had published a book called "ElBaradei and the Dream of the Green Revolution", written by an Egyptian journalist.

ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt in February after 12 years as head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said he would consider running for president in 2011 if conditions such as guaranteeing a free race were met.

ElBaradei has caused a political stir in Egypt. The country's first multi-candidate presidential race in 2005 was won easily by President Hosni Mubarak. Rights groups said voting was marred by abuses.

Mubarak, 81 and in power since 1981, has not said if he will seek a sixth six-year term. If he does not, many Egyptians think he will seek to hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46.

ElBaradei has called for a new constitution with checks on power and better respect for human rights.

He has begun an on-the-road campaign to petition for reforms, attending Friday Muslim prayers in Cairo and travelling to Mansoura, a provincial capital in the Nile Delta.

In 2005, Mubarak's nearest challenger, liberal politician Ayman Nour, came a distant second. Nour was later jailed on forgery charges he says were politically motivated. He was freed last year and has said he wants to run again.

<p>Former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed El Baradei addresses a news conference in Berlin, November 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>
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