Egypt’s military order two Sadat plotters freed

Egypt's military rulers on Thursday ordered the release two cousins jailed for their role in the assassination of then-president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Abboud and Tarek el-Zomor served multiple sentences for their role in the shooting death of Sadat during a Cairo military parade. Despite the order, they have not yet been freed.

They were convicted in 1984 of plotting the assassination and of belonging to the outlawed Islamic Jihad group – but not of actually killing Sadat. The five prime suspects, including the shooter, were captured and executed.

The two were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the maximum term under Egyptian law.

Tarek el-Zomor was ordered released in July 2005, but he was never set free because of an Interior Ministry's discretionary power to hold a prisoner for up to five more years on security grounds. Abboud el-Zomor was also expected to be released after serving his term but was kept behind bars on the same grounds.

Some 60 other prisoners who have served their terms are to be freed under the same order.

About 23,000 of the nation's 80,000 prisoners escaped during the 18-day uprising that lead to the ouster of President Hosanna Mubarak on 11 February. There was an attempted prison break in the place where the el-Zomors were held, but the two did not flee.

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