CAIRO, Egypt, AP – Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered the release Wednesday of 120 university students suspected of membership in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Most of the group had been rounded up in several provinces in the past two weeks for joining a banned group, a police official and group members said.
Brotherhood member and editor of the Islamist movement’s Web site, Abdel Gelil el-Sharnoubi and a police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said among those released were 30 students from the southern province of Assiut University who were detained earlier this week.
The police official said the release was ordered after Prosecutor-General Maher Abdel Wahed examined a report he had ordered on the books, papers and computer materials confiscated from the students.
But the group’s Web site said the release was the result of “the distinguished role played by the Brotherhood lawmakers inside the parliament and their pressure on the government.”
While officially outlawed, the Brotherhood is tolerated and fielded 150 candidates in last year’s parliamentary vote who ran as independents. Those candidates won 88 seats in the 454-member parliament, increasing its presence more than fivefold in a violence-prone series of votes in which at least 10 people were killed.