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Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Egypt updates: Wael Ghonim, Google executive, released

By Melissa Bell
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An opposition supporter sleeps inside a burnt out mini van on the front line near Tahrir Square. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

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Wael Ghonim, Google executive, released

netanyahu
Wael Ghonim

Wael Ghonim, the head of Google's marketing efforts in the Middle East and North Africa, has been released from government detention, according to reports from Cairo.

Ghonim went missing on Jan. 28 during the Egyptian protests. One of his last tweets was taken as an ominous sign. He wrote, "Pray for Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die."

After he went missing, his family became convinced he was being held by authorities for his role in the social media push that led up to the uprising in Egypt. The New York Times reports it was unclear if Ghonim played any role in the social media effort, but it is clear from his Twitter feed that he passionately participated in the revolutionary efforts until he went missing. On Sunday, reports surfaced that he would be released, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Thousands of people have been detained since in an ongoing sweep by the military began Thursday, Peter Bouckaert at the Human Rights Watch said, and the past few days have seen a sharp uptick in reports of detainment and harassment of pro-democratic supporters by the military police organization. Bouckaert said it is hard to know exactly how many people have been detained because the military has not traditionally been in charge of any detainments, and there is no system in place to publish a list of those detained.

Ghonim sent out a message on Twitter after his release:

Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it. #Jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

By Melissa Bell  | February 7, 2011; 10:53 AM ET
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