Algeria Islamists urge release of jailed ex-fighters

April 6, 2011 16:32

ALGIERS - Two prominent Algerian Islamists called on the president on Wednesday to release up to 7,000 Islamists from prison, a move they said would draw a line under a conflict that killed an estimated 200,000 people.

A letter asking for the prisoners' release was sent to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika by Sheikh Abdelfateh Zeraoui, a well-known Salafist preacher, and Sheikh Hachemi Sahnouni, one of the founders of the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).

Most of the thousands jailed during Algeria's nearly two-decade conflict between Islamist insurgents and government forces were freed under an amnesty but a hard core did not qualify for release.

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