[Ppnews] Egypt frees political prisoners

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 9 10:57:34 EST 2011

Egypt 'frees political prisoners'

Thirty-four prisoners reportedly freed in move seen as part of 
reforms pledged by embattled government.
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2011 16:42 GMT

Mubarak has offered political reforms in a bid to end the protests 
around the country [Reuters]

The Egyptian government is reported to have freed 34 political 
prisoners, including some members of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a 
move seen to be part of promised reforms aimed at ending 
anti-government protests.

According to Al Jazeera sources, more than a thousand other prisoners 
were released on Wednesday after completing at least three-quarters 
of their sentences. And another 840 prisoners were released from the 
Sinai province.

"Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy issued an order today releasing 34 
political detainees considered to be among the extremist elements, 
after evaluating their positions," the state-owned Middle East News 
Agency (MENA) said on Tuesday.

"They showed good intentions and expressed their desire to live 
peaceably with society."

The report added they had handed themselves over to the authorities 
after escaping from prison during several days of disorder last month.

Security forces were withdrawn from the streets after failing to 
crush millions of protesters on January 28. Security then broke down 
at many prisons around the country.

During the 1990s, Egypt battled Islamist fighters who wanted to 
replace the government of Hosni Mubarak, the president, with an Islamic state.

Political detainees

Many fighters remain in jail from the time of Mubarak's predecessor 
Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by soldiers linked to an Islamist 
group in 1981.

According to human rights groups, it is not clear how many people are 
detained in Egypt for political activities, such as joining banned 
groups or planning or carrying out acts of violence, but they 
estimate them to be in thousands.

Mubarak has offered other concessions in an attempt to end ongoing 
protests around the country, which included the appointment of a 
vice-president and a new cabinet.

Political reforms have also been pledged and the government said this 
would include freeing detainees and lifting emergency laws.

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