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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 14:41 GMT
Libya frees political prisoners
Libya has released dozens of political prisoners, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a political party outlawed in Libya.

A total of 130 prisoners, 85 of them members of the Brotherhood, were released from a prison in Tripoli.

The Brotherhood detainees were freed under an amnesty from the government.

Human rights groups have been calling for their release for years after they were arrested in the 1990s for supporting a political party.

The 85 Brotherhood detainees were five months into a supreme court appeal against their guilty verdicts when the amnesty came.

Political pressure

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says this latest decision seems to be the product of more than a year of lobbying by the local Gadaffi Charity Foundation headed by the Libyan leader's son, Seif al-Islam.

International human rights organisations will no doubt welcome the release of the prisoners as they too have been calling for their unconditional release for years, our correspondent says.

Fifty-five of them have reportedly already flown back to their hometown of Benghazi to rejoin their families.

The 85 political prisoners, most of them professionals and students, were originally tried by the People's Court - a court which was abolished last year.

Country profile: Libya
03 Jan 06 |  Country profiles

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