Egypt releases Islamist political prisoners

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior released 109 political detainees belonging to Islamist groups including Salafi Jihad, al-Takfir wal-Hijra, and al-Jihad.

Prisoners from al-Aqrab,  Tora, al-Este'naf and other prisons were let go after activists called for their release. Among the released were 19 activists belonging to a group led by Sheikh Magdy Salem, a leader of al-Jihad, according to sources within Islamist groups.

The same sources added that the members of Sheikh Magdy's group were aged 15 to 20 years and included Sheikh Yehya Khalaf and Sheikh Ahmed al-Gendy.

Al-Aqrab prison witnessed the release of 13 detainees, including Sheikh Mohamed al-Lowainy and Sheikh Abdel Hamid Fares, who belong to al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.

Sheikh Mohamed Aboul Seoud, who served nearly 25 years in al-Este'naf prison, was also released. He belongs to al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.

Al-Jihad members Sayed Madbouly, Ahmed Dia al-Din, Hosni Refa'ee, and Mahmoud al-Fouly objected to a decision to transfer them from al-Minya prison to al-Wadi al-Jadid prison. Sources said that the decision might serve as a kind of punishment for al-Jihad leaders who participated in Victory Day last Friday.

Sources said that the Interior Ministry is currently considering the release of Sheikh Aboud al-Zomr and his cousin Tarek al-Zomr, Egypt’s oldest prisoners, as a kind of reward for their decision to remain in prison two weeks ago despite having had opportunities to escape.

Twelve al-Jihad and al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya leaders, who were sentenced to death, hope to be included as part a general amnesty that rewards them for sharing in an initiative to discourage violence.

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