Facing Global Outcry, Egypt Set to Free Members of Leading Rights Group

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View of the New Cairo Courthouse, where an interrogation session was held for arrested members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, in New Cairo, Egypt, November 23, 2020.
View of the New Cairo Courthouse, where an interrogation session was held for arrested members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, in New Cairo, Egypt, November 23, 2020.Credit: STAFF/ REUTERS

Prosecutors in Egypt have ordered the release of three members of a leading human rights group who were arrested last month in a case that has drawn widespread international criticism, judicial and security sources said on Thursday.

Security services detained the three staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, including director Gasser Abdel Razek, after the group gave a briefing to senior diplomats on November 3.

The detentions, on charges including joining a terrorist group and publishing false news, drew public objections from the United Nations and Western governments, and triggered a broad campaign by international rights campaigners.

The public prosecution had decided to release Abdel Razek along with EIPR criminal justice director Karim Ennarah and administrative manager Mohamed Basheer, and was finalising security procedures, a judicial source said.

The three would be released pending further investigations, a security source said. State newspaper Akhbar el-Youm also reported the decision to free the three men.

There was no immediate official statement from the prosecution.

EIPR said its lawyers were trying to obtain details about how and when the men would be released.

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