CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian authorities released a leader of the banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood movement after detaining him for more than five months, Issam Aryane told AFP as he was leaving jail.
"I was released just two minutes ago. I am in good shape, I feel great," said Aryane, who was freed just weeks before the November parliamentary elections in which his group is expected to make a strong showing.
Brotherhood politburo official Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh said earlier this week that Aryane might run for the three-stage elections which will kick off on November 9 and end a month later.
But Aryane told AFP that fielding his candidacy "is not a personal decision, I shall consult with the Brotherhood”s instances."
The 51-year-old is a one of the group”s most charismatic and media savvy figures. He served as the official spokesman of the movement”s supreme guide Mohammed Mehdi Akef until his arrest in May.
The group charged that Aryane”s arrest was motivated by his decision to be a candidate in Egypt”s September 7 presidential race, which was won in a landslide by incumbent Hosni Mubarak.
Hundreds of Brothers were arrested that month as they staged mass demonstrations throughout the country, joining Egypt”s opposition calls for political reforms. Most were subsequently released.
The Brotherhood, already the largest and best-organised opposition force in parliament, is hoping to boost its seat tally from 17 to 40 or 50 in next month”s vote.
Its candidates will run as independents as the movement has been banned since 1954.
Three other Brothers were released with Aryane on Sunday, a judiciary official told AFP.
Aryane had to pay a 2,000 Egyptian pounds bail (350 dollars), the official also said.
He had been held under preventive detention since his arrest.
Aryane and his fellow Brothers released on Sunday were arrested on the grounds of "belonging to a banned organisation which seeks to hamper the application of the country”s laws and constitution."
They were also accused of "planning gatherings with a view to attack people and goods" and of "resorting to violence and threats."