Jama’a al-Islamiya seeks release of Mubarak’s would-be assassins in Ethiopia

The Jama'a al-Islamiya is seeking the release of three members detained in Ethiopia for participating in an assassination attempt on former President Hosni Mubarak in 1995 in Addis Ababa, according to leading member Aboud al-Zomor.

"Efforts for the release of imprisoned [Jama'a al-Islamiya] members in Ethiopia include legal and political moves," Zomor told London-based Al-Hayat newspaper Saturday. 

In June 1995, Mubarak survived the most famous assassination attempt against him upon arriving at Addis Ababa airport for a conference of the Organization of African Unity (currently the African Union).

The incident caused a rift between Egypt and Sudan, which was accused of harboring those involved in the attempt.

Zomor did not rule out the possibility that a Jama's al-Islamiya delegation currently visiting Sudan will request the meditation of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, although he refused to confirm the request. 

"If the subject was raised during the delegation's meeting with President Bashir that would be a good thing. I do not know if it was raised or not, but it might have been raised within the framework of preliminary steps to pardon them," said Zomor.

"The lawyers [of the Jama'a al-Islamiya] went to the Ethiopian Embassy in Cairo and demanded a pardon request be submitted for three prisoners who have not yet been executed," Ibrahim Ali, a Jama'a al-Islamiya lawyer, told Al-Hayat.

"The embassy officials told us they only deal with governments and it is not allowed to open communication channels with political parties or groups," Ali added.

Representatives from Jama'a al-Islamiya's political party tried to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Mels Zanawy during his visit to Cairo in September to discuss the issue but they could not, Ali said.

Ali criticized the Egyptian Foreign Ministry for not putting the issue into consideration. He added that the Jama'a al-Islamiya delegation was meeting with Bashir to discuss the future of relations between Egypt and Sudan after Mubarak's regime ruined the group and offended Sudan.

This is the second recent case in which Islamic groups are pressing Egypt to negotiate the release of members detained abroad.

The other case demands the release of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence in the US.

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