x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Brother of Al Qaeda boss is acquitted in Egypt

Mohammed Al Zawahiri and several leading Islamists jailed in Egypt were yesterday acquitted on charges of participating in Islamist groups seeking to topple the Egyptian regime in the 1990s.

CAIRO // Mohammed Al Zawahiri, the brother of the head of Al Qaeda, and several leading Islamists jailed in Egypt were yesterday acquitted on charges of participating in Islamist groups seeking to topple the Egyptian regime in the 1990s.

Mr Al Zawahiri, 60, whose brother Ayman Al Zawahiri took the helm of Al Qaeda after the death of Osama Bin Laden last year, had been imprisoned for 13 years without formal charges after being extradited from the United Arab Emirates.

Among the other imprisoned Islamists acquitted were Said Imam Fadl, a religious leader and author of texts used by militants in Afghanistan, and Mohammed Islambouli, a brother of the assassin of the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, who had been accused of planning attacks on the government.

Mr Al Zawahiri was released for two days in March last year, but rearrested and formally charged for the first time.

After Mr Mubarak was forced to resign last year, there was a broad amnesty to 2,000 Islamists who had served half their sentence or had been held after their sentences had finished.

Mr Al Zawahiri and other Islamists who remained in prison appealed their convictions last year, but the trial was repeatedly adjourned until yesterday.

bhope@thenational.ae

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