World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi has freed a group of Islamists jailed during Hosni Mubarak's era.
A lawyer for 17 people, many of them held since the 1990s, say they owe their release to a pardon issued by Mursi. At least three of the released had been condemned to death, said the lawyer Ibrahim Ali.
Those released in recent days include members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, jailed during the group's armed insurrection against the state in the 1990s, and Islamic Jihad, the movement behind the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat.
Mursi has not spoken in public about the pardon for which he has been publicly thanked by al-Gama'a al-Islamiya. The group says those held in jail are innocent victims of summary justice in military and other courts where they were denied fair trials.
Lawyers say some 2,000 Islamists have been released in the 18 months since Hosni Mubarak was removed from power, many of them last year on the orders of the council of military generals that steered the transition.
More than 1,000 people were killed between 1992 and 1997 in the conflict.
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya has moved into the political mainstream since Mubarak was removed from power, setting up a political party, winning seats in parliamentary elections and later campaigning on Mursi's behalf in the presidential vote.
Mursi had promised to work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the group's spiritual leader who is serving a life sentence in the United States for allegedly planning attacks in New York.
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya has called on Mursi to release the last few dozen Islamists still being held from the Mubarak era.
According to lawyers working for their release, Mursi had sought to secure freedom for all still being held, but the security forces had blocked the move, signaling the resistance he is facing from unreformed security agencies.
"Those remaining must be released," said Tareq al-Zumar, a senior member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya.Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2012, 11:35