January 30, 2011 / 12:30 PM / 9 years ago

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood says 34 key members escape prison

CAIRO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Thirty-four members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, including seven members of the leadership, walked out of prison in Egypt on Sunday after relatives of prisoners overcame the guards, a Brotherhood official said.

The relatives stormed the prison in Wadi el-Natroun, 120 km (80 miles) northwest of Cairo, and set free several thousand of the inmates, Brotherhood office manager Mohamed Osama told Reuters. No one was hurt, he added.

“They are on their way to Cairo,” he said. The seven leaders are from the Brotherhood’s Guidance Council and they were arrested on Thursday night and Friday morning during preparations for the massive protests on Friday against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Osama named them as Mohamed Mursi, Essam el-Erian, Mohamed el-Katatni, Saad el-Husseini, Mustafa el-Ghoneimi, Muhyi Hamed and Mahmoud Abu Zeid.

Prisoners have escaped from several major prisons across Egypt since the protests on Friday, when police morale and discipline started to break down. In many parts of Egypt police have abandoned their stations.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been Egypt’s largest opposition movement for decades. Its members have taken part in the last six days of protests, alongside other groups and ordinary citizens, but it has not sought to claim any leadership role.

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