Senior Egypt cleric demands politicians' release

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 05, 2013 1:50 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) - The head of Egypt's leading Islamic institution demanded the release of political prisoners on Friday after the arrests of several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood following the army's overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, also called for the release of "prisoners of conscience" and political activists, the state news agency MENA said.

The agency later said two senior Brotherhood leaders, Saad El-Katatni and Rashad al-Bayoumi, had been ordered freed by the prosecutor, pending investigation on allegations of inciting violence.

The army later issued a statement saying there were no political prisoners and that judicial procedures were followed.

Mursi has been detained at a military facility since he was ousted on Wednesday. He faces an investigation into insulting the judiciary.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, Maggie Fick and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)