Egyptian authorities ordered the release Saturday of leading Muslim Brotherhood
figure Essam el-Erian , who had spent more than five months in custody without charge, and three other members of the banned Islamic group on bail.
Ex-lawmaker el-Erian, 52, and fellow Brotherhood leader Helmi el-Gazar were detained on May 6, hours before the staging of nationwide anti-government protests, which police alleged they had organized.
Before he was most-recently jailed, el-Erian had spent five years in jail since 1995 on charges of belonging to a banned group that sought to create an Islamic state in Egypt
The Brotherhood is believed to be Egypt's largest Islamist group. It renounced violence in the 1970s and now has supporters sitting as independents in parliament, holding 15 seats as the largest opposition bloc.