INTRODUCTION: Thirty-one political detainees, arrested on the orders of the late President Sadat, have been released in Cairo on the orders of the new President, Hosni Mubarak.
SV Mubarak shakes hands with released detainees.
SV & PAN Detainees seated
SV Detainees leaving palace after reception
SCU Egyptian speaking at news conference
SPEECH (TRANSCRIPT) (SEQ 4):
HEIKAL: "I think I am free to go but I'm not sure. But I think from what I can see around me that I am free to go."
INTERVIEWER: "Would you car to tell us the conditions under which...
HEIKAL: "According to what I heard from the President personally, there were no conditions at all. The President, as he proved to be, as a matter of fact, he was a man who was re-born twice through two storms of fire and blood and what I heard from him today is, really, very promising. You know, I, for one, are ready to give him all the support I can and I really wish him all success. He is turning a new page in the history of Egypt and I am positively sure it will be a very honourable page. And I wish him all success."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Thirty-one political detainees, arrested on the orders of the late President Sadat, have been released in Cairo on the orders of the new President, Hosni Mubarak. The former prisoners influential journalists and politicians who were known to be strongly opposed to the directions President Sadat's government was taking.
SYNOPSIS: President Mubarak did more than just release the political detainees. He insisted on greeting them personally at the President's Palace in Cairo. Officials in the capital said the release was a gesture by the President to consolidate his authority in the country, and also to gain the co-operation of the opposition leaders. Recently, President Mubarak invited the leader of the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) to his offices and gained his support for his new policies.
President Sadat had ordered the arrest of almost 2,000 political opponents in a major crackdown shortly before he was assassinated.
As the newly released prisoners left the President's Palace, it was clear the shrewd move had been a major triumph for Mr. Mubarak. One of the first to speak to reporters was the former editor of the Al-Ahram Daily, Mohammad Hassanain Heikal.