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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Muslim Brotherhood freed

Libyan authorities released 130 political prisoners on Thursday, including 83/Reuters/ /84 AlJazeera/ /85 BBC/ members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Libyan activist said.

The Brotherhood detainees were freed under an amnesty from the government.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says this latest decision seems to be the product of more than a year of lobbying by the local Qadaffi Charity Foundation headed by the Libyan leader's son, Seif al-Islam.

In Cairo, Egypt Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mahdi Akef welcomed the move and said it marked the opening of a new chapter in reforms and the spreading of liberties.

"We are delighted in this development and we thank the Libyan leadership for releasing the Muslim Brotherhood members and ask God for their continuous success and prosperity," he said.

Libya arrested at the end of the 1990s 152 members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2002 two were sentenced to death, 73 to life in prison and 66 were acquitted. The others were handed 10 year jail sentences.

The condemned, mainly students and academics, were accused of supporting or belonging to Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya al-Libiya, an Islamist group created in 1979, whose beliefs reflect those of Egypt's banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood.

/Reuters, BBC, AlJazeera/

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