The Egyptian authorities are releasing 12 Palestinians from Akrab Prison in Cairo. The freed prisoners are, it is claimed, now on their way to Gaza.
According to Emad El Sayed, a spokesman for the families of the Palestinian detainees, the Egyptian authorities notified the 12 in Akrab that they would be released and taken by prison van straight to the Gaza Strip. "However," said Mr. El Sayed, "we cannot confirm the news before we see them in Gaza. We don't trust the Egyptian authorities as they may take the men back to prison, which has happened before." The Egyptian authorities announced more than a week ago that they had released 14 Palestinians but the decision was reversed at the last minute.
There are more than 20 Palestinian detainees in Akrab Prison and they went on hunger strike two weeks ago in protest at their detention and the conditions in the jail. Egypt continues to hold 44 Palestinians in Egyptian prisons; some have been held for several years despite court rulings ordering their release. It has been reported that 8 Palestinian prisoners escaped and fled to Gaza during the Egyptian popular revolution.