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EGPYT: Two members of the Muslim Brotherhood to be released

March 2, 2011 |  6:04 pm

Two key members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, will be released after serving nearly five years in prison, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing Egypt’s state news agency MENA.

Khayrat el-Shater, the lead strategist for the Brotherhood, and Hassan Malek, a well-known businessman and group financier, will be freed for medical reasons, according to the AP, referring to MENA.

The exact timing of their release was unclear.

The two men were arrested during a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, considered an Islamist fundamentalist group, after the group’s success in the country's 2005 parliamentary elections, the AP said. Running as independents, its members won 20% of the seats.

El-Shater and Malek were subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison in 2008 after a military trial on charges of money laundering and terrorism, the AP reported.

Their release comes almost three weeks after a popular uprising forced the downfall of Egypt's longtime president, Hosni Mubarak.

-- Ann M. Simmons