Egypt has released 34 political prisoners, the state news agency said on Tuesday, the first men set free since the government of President Hosni Mubarak promised reforms to quell a popular uprising.
Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy issued an order today releasing 34 political detainees considered to be among the "extremist elements", after evaluating their positions, the MENA agency said.
"They showed good intentions and expressed their desire to live peaceably with society," it added.
It said they had handed themselves over to the authorities after escaping from prison during several days of disorder last month.
Security forces were withdrawn from the streets after failing to crush millions of protesters on Jan. 28. Security broke down at many prisons around the country.
Since the 1990s, many Islamists remain in jail from the time of Mubarak's predecessor Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by soldiers in 1981.
Human rights groups say it is not clear how many people are detained in Egypt for political activities, such as joining "banned" groups or "planning or carrying out acts of violence", but they estimate them to be in their thousands.
Mubarak has offered concessions to try to end the revolt, appointing a vice-president and a new cabinet and promising political reforms. The government said this could include freeing detainees and lifting emergency laws.
AgenciesLast Mod: 08 Şubat 2011, 16:53