Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The recent release of a number of senior members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is not a sign of the government’s willingness to reconcile its differences with the movement, the prisoners’ lawyer said on Tuesday.
The release of three Brotherhood members currently awaiting trial has fueled speculation that the government is seeking to reach an accord with the group, which was declared an illegal terrorist organization in December of last year.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, Mohamed Toson said the release of several leading members of the Brotherhood was due to the fact that they had spent “record time” on remand without trial, which obliged the government to release them.
He expected more prisoners to be released in the coming days.
Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsood, also a lawyer of the Brotherhood, was released on Tuesday following a court order issued two weeks ago in relation to an investigation into the case known as the “Sarayat incident.”
Abdel Maqsood’s release followed the release on bail of two other senior members of the Brotherhood in August, at the order of the Giza Criminal Court.
Helmi El-Gazzar and former MP Mohamed El-Omdah were released on bail, which was set at 100,000 Egyptian pounds (14,000 US dollars) each. They were originally detained on charges of inciting violence and involvement in the murder of protesters around Cairo University and the Sarayat area in Giza.
Abdel Maqsood’s release was delayed despite posting his bail, leading Toson to declare: “The delay of 13 days in releasing Abdel Maqsood was a crime and unlawful imprisonment is punishable by law. We have lodged a complaint with the prosecution and it is being investigated.”
Toson added that the state’s authority to hold prisoners on remand had legal time limits, and that he expected other members of the Brotherhood to be released, because “most of them [have] spent record time on remand of more than one year, which is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.”
The move also comes after a number of public figures, some from Islamist trends within the Egyptian political scene, launched initiatives to reach reconciliation between the authorities and the Brotherhood, despite a judicial ruling which ordered the disbanding of the Freedom and Justice Party, the movement’s political wing.
The latest initiative was launched by Omdah, and called for the state to lift its ban on the Brotherhood in return for the movement’s acceptance of the presidency of Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as a “transitional period,” as well as the release of former president Mohamed Mursi. The Legitimacy Alliance, which supports Mursi, rejected the initiative.
Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim El-Heneidi said all initiatives which called for reconciliation were pointless, accusing the Brotherhood’s leaders of being stuck in the past.
In a statement on Tuesday, Heneidi said: “There is no conciliation with Brotherhood members with the blood of the Egyptian people on their hands, and who committed acts of sabotage and destruction against the state.”