The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it had sent an official inquiry to Ethiopia through the embassy in Addis Ababa over reports that a number of Egyptians had been in Ethiopian prisons since their arrest over a failed attempt to assassinate former President Hosni Mubarak in 1995.
"We have sent an official request and are waiting for a response from the Ethiopian side, Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mona Omar told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Ibrahim Ali, a lawyer representing Jamaa al-Islamiya, which has been accused of the assassination attempt, had earlier asked the ministry to intervene for the release of three members detained in Ethiopia for more than 17 years.
State-run news agency MENA said Monday that the Giza Criminal Court had released Mostafa Hamza, a former leader of Jamaa al-Islamiya, who was being retried for charges of plotting Mubarak's assassination attempt during his visit to Ethiopia in 1995 to attend the African Union summit. Mubarak’s motorcade came under attack by gunmen while coming from the airport in Addis Ababa, leaving two police officers dead.
Accusations first pointed at involvement by Sudan’s Islamist government and Al-Qaeda. However, Jama’a al-Islamiya later claimed responsibility. The group had led an armed campaign against the government during the 1990s before later renouncing violence.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm