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Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK

World: Africa

Egyptian woman locked up by father

Police in Egypt have freed a 23-year-old woman who was locked in a tiny, dark room for more than three months by her father.

Madiha Ali was imprisoned because she had divorced her 80-year-old husband, according to police in the town of Sohag 400 kms south of Cairo.

She was found in a one square metre room when police who were searching for firearms in a nearby house heard her faint cries for help.

She said she survived only because her step-brother smuggled her bread and water every five days through a small hole.

She was taken to hospital in a state of extreme weakness.

Police are still searching for her father who allegedly fled after hearing of his daughter's release.

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