Cairo: Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed
Shafiq said on Saturday the government would soon release 222 of the
country's remaining 487 political prisoners, the official MENA
news agency reported.
Only a handful of them were arrested during the
18-day revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak on
February 11, he said.
"Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq announced that there
are 487 remaining political prisoners and the government will
soon release 222 of them," the agency reported.
"He said there was only a small group of those
arrested during the events of the January 25 revolution, no
more than a handful, and their release is being studied now,"
The report did not clarify whether the remaining
prisoners would be released later. Their release is one of the
main demands of youth and opposition groups who took part in
Shafiq also said he was trying to determine the
fate of young people who went missing during the revolt.
A leading Egyptian rights activist said on Tuesday
that hundreds of people went missing during the protests,
alleging that some are being held by the military, which took
over the country after Mubarak's resignation.
Gamal Eid, a lawyer who heads the Arabic Network
for Human Rights Information, said: "There are hundreds of
detained, but information on their numbers is still not
complete... The army was holding detainees."
His group said in a statement that it was still
receiving "information relating to the disappearances of many
youths and citizens."
First Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011, 00:32