CAIRO - Egyptian leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi called on Wednesday for the release of what he called "prisoners of conscience", days after he announced he would run for president.

Egypt is preparing for presidential and parliamentary polls due within six months under a political transition plan set out after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July following mass protests against his rule.

Since Morsi was deposed, hundreds of his supporters have been killed and thousands arrested in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Some well-known secular dissidents have also been jailed in recent months for protesting without permission.

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