Egypt frees 52 opposition activists

Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered the release of 52 student members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood in time for university exams, a prosecution official says.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is the nation's largest opposition group

    The students, arrested in a government crackdown sparked by a wave of pro-reform demonstrations, were held for more than two weeks, according to the official at the office of Prosecutor-General Maher Abd al-Wahed.

    It was not immediately clear if the students had been released already.

    On Saturday, police said 77 students from the banned opposition group were freed by the prosecutor-general for the same reason.

    Separately, Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Mahdi Akef sent a petition to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, complaining of "violations" by state security officers against detained members of the group.

    The Brotherhood alleged that a political science researcher, Khairy Muhammad Omar, was tortured by state security officers before being released.

    Professor barred

    There was no immediate comment from security officials.
    Akef sent similar complaints to the prime minister, parliament speaker, interior minister and other officials, the group said.

    In a related development, Aljazeera's correspondent in Cairo reported on Monday that Egyptian authorities prevented a leading Muslim brotherhood figure and former MP, Jamal Hishmat, from travelling to the US.

    Mubarak is facing unprecedented
    opposition to his 24-year rule

    Dr Hishmat was part of a delegation due to visit Maryland University, but he was detained at the airport.

    More than 800 Brotherhood members have been detained this month in connection with anti-government protests in advance of last week's nationwide referendum on a constitutional amendment that was criticised by the opposition.

    The amendment, which passed overwhelmingly in the Wednesday referendum, allows Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections.

    Opposition figures complain it gives the ruling party too much say

    over which candidates are able to run in September's elections.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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