Sunday, October 16, 2005

Egypt to release Islamist leader

Egypt to release Islamist leader

Islamists are among several groups campaigning against MubarakA leading member of Egypt's opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is to be released, the authorities have said.
Essam el-Erian has been in custody since his arrest in May. Three other members are also being freed.
Their release comes as candidates begin to register for the parliamentary elections, due next month.
The Muslim Brotherhood is officially banned in Egypt but sometimes tolerated by the authorities. It is said to be Egypt's most popular opposition group.
Mass arrests
The prosecutor ordered that Essam el-Erian and the other three unnamed members be free on bail of 2,000 Egyptian pounds each ($348).
Erian's wife, Fatima, told Reuters news agency he should be released by Sunday.
He was one of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood activists arrested on the eve of anti-government protests.
A spokesman for the group, Abdul Muniem Mahmoud, told the BBC in May that 1,562 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested after nationwide protests.
Egyptian officials said the number of those held was 400.
The group launched its election campaign on Wednesday, saying it would field twice as many candidates as it did at the last parliamentary elections.
Members of the group can stand as independent candidates, but Mr Erian's lawyer Abdulmunim Abdulmaqsoud told the BBC his client did not intend to stand.


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