Egypt court orders Brotherhood men released
Cairo, April 5, 2010
An Egyptian criminal court has ordered the release of 16 senior members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group who were detained in February.
Egyptian authorities had accused the senior members of trying to set up training camps to stage attacks in Egypt.
"The court has issued its decision but we are awaiting the execution of the verdict...and this is not guaranteed because this is a political case," the Muslim Brotherhood's lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud told Reuters.
Among the released members are deputy leader Mahmoud Ezzat and Essam al-Erian, spokesman for the group and member of its governing body. Abdel-Rahman Al Bir and Mohi Hamed, also governing body members, were ordered released.
The court set bail at EGP5,000 ($908.1) for each member except Mohamed Abdel Ghani and Mohamed Elewah, who are in hospital, Abdel-Maksoud said.
The Brotherhood, though banned, won a fifth of the seats parliament in 2005 when members ran as independents but since then the authorities have squeezed the Islamist group out of mainstream politics.
Analysts expect the group's support to shrink at the parliamentary elections in the second half of this year.
The government of President Hosni Mubarak, whose predecessor was gunned down by Islamic militants, is wary of any group with Islamist leanings, including the Brotherhood which long ago renounced violence and insists it seeks peaceful reform. – Reuters