CAIRO: Egyptian police released 16 senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including deputy chief Mahmoud Ezzat and Essam El-Erian, who are charged with organizing terrorist groups, Ezzat said on Thursday.
Ezzat and the others were freed on bail on Wednesday after the Cairo Criminal Court ordered their release.
We are glad to see the authorities swift execution of the court s release order, the group s lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told Reuters.
They were arrested in February on charges of forming secret terrorist groups and planning to overthrow the government.
Ezzat denied the charges and said the banned group, which wants an Islamic state achieved through peaceful means, was committed to its political program.
They have forever fabricated cases against us, he told AFP.
Accusations against these members as well as others are false. This is a political case and we hope that the rest of the detained members are released especially as parliamentary elections are coming, senior member Gamal Nassar told Reuters.
Although banned, the Brotherhood holds one-fifth of seats in parliament after fielding independent candidates in the 2005 parliamentary elections.
It is expected to field fewer candidates in elections later this year because of a police crackdown, but Ezzat said the group was not fazed by the arrests.
What we do is an obligation. Participation in public life is a duty and we are committed to our program of reform, he said. -Agencies