[JURIST] Egyptian opposition presidential candidate Ayman Nour [Wikipedia profile] pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of forgery as hundreds outside the courthouse protested his trial as a attempt to eliminate any rivals to current President Hosni Mubarak [official profile]. The case, in which Nour is accused of forging signatures [JURIST report] to get his opposition al-Ghad party registered, has created tension between the US and its closest ally in the Middle East, Egypt. Lawyers on both sides shouted arguments back and forth Tuesday before the judge regained control and ordered a recess. Nour is the most prominent figure to announce his plan to run for president in the upcoming September elections, the first to be opened to challengers [JURIST report] to the current president. Mubarak is widely expected to run for a fifth term in office and has called the open election a major democratic reform. Aljazeera has more.