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February 07, 2003

Militant Islamic Leader Freed in Egypt

Our friends in Egypt
CAIRO, Egypt - A founding member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, Egypt's most militant Islamic group, has been freed after spending seven months in prison, his lawyer said Friday.

Salah Hashem was released Thursday, a day before a scheduled court appearance to decide on renewing his detention, according to his lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat.

Another al-Gamaa figure, lawyer Ali Rady, also was freed.

Al-Zayat said he had no details on why they were released, and there was no immediate confirmation from authorities.

Hashem helped found Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, Arabic for the Islamic Group, in the 1970s, and was tried in absentia for an alleged role in assassinating President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Rady was also tried in absentia on several counts, including trying to revive the group. Neither man was ever convicted. [more]