x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE Google executive Wael Ghonim 'released in Cairo'

Al Arabiya television has reported that Google's Dubai-based head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, missing in Egypt since January 27, is free and on his way to Tahrir Square, centre of protests against President Mubarak.

CAIRO // The Dubai-based Google executive who had gone missing in Egypt was released today and was on his way to Tahrir Square, the centre of two weeks of anti-government demonstrations, Al Arabiya television has reported.

Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, Wael Ghonim, 30, had last been seen in Cairo on Thursday 27 January. The company announced last Wednesday that he was missing.

Al Arabiya did not give details, but Orascom Telecom's chairman, Naguib Sawiris, said on Sunday that authorities had promised him Mr Ghonim would be freed.

Activists said that Mr Ghonim had been involved in founding "We are all Khaled Said", an anti-torture Facebook group named after an activist who rights groups said was beaten to death by police in the port city of Alexandria. Two officers now face trial.

Mr Ghonim's brother, contacted by Reuters, said the family had seen the Al Arabiya report but had no further information.

Protests unprecedented during President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule have raged across the most populous Arab country since January 25.

Google had earlier launched a service to help Egyptians use Twitter despite government Internet restrictions by dialling a telephone number and leaving a voice mail that would then be sent on the online service.