The first such releases took place on 26 October. The rest have been freed in groups of three or four on payment of bail of about $320 each.

The people had been held without trial in administrative detention since their arrests on 16 May in a nationwide sweep.

The detainees charged that one of their colleagues, who died in June, had been tortured to death in prison, but a state-appointed doctor ruled Akram Zuhairy had died of natural causes.

The state prosecutor has decided not to press charges against all the members of the group, said defence lawyer Abd al-Munaim Abd al-Maqsud, who himself is a Muslim Brotherhood member.

Muhammad Mahdi Akif is the
Brotherhood's spiritual guide

According to police sources, the aim of the latest round-up was to "break the structure of the brotherhood" in the provinces, while those arrested were "actively involved in efforts to enrol new members".

Some were accused of providing "military training but without arms" to brotherhood activists at desert camps.

The Muslim Brotherhood represents the leading opposition force in Egypt.