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Egyptian Google executive released

posted 7 Feb 2011, 18:23 by Mpelembe   [ updated 7 Feb 2011, 18:29 ]

Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing in Cairo, has been released.

Google executive Wael Ghonim, who was released in Cairo on Monday (February 7), said he was kept blindfolded for two weeks while being detained by Egyptian state security.

Google said last week that Ghonim, the firm's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, had not been seen since January 27, two days after anti-government protests erupted in Egypt.

The company began a public search for him, giving out a telephone number for information about him.

Ghonim said after his release that he was picked up by three plainclothes men in a street in Cairo, bundled into a car and taken off for interrogation by state security men.

He said he was blindfolded throughout his detention and that he was not allowed any news on the anti-government protests currently sweeping Egypt.

Returning home on Monday, he appeared tired and emotional.

"Please don't turn me into a hero. I am not a hero, okay? I am not a hero. I am a very ordinary person. The heroes are the ones in the street. I have been asleep for 12 days. Please, everybody, I ask you......we won't leave our country until we change it, and we will take our rights, we will take them," he said.

Activists said Ghonim had been involved in founding "We are all Khaled Said", an anti-torture Facebook group named after an activist who rights groups said was beaten to death by police in the port city of Alexandria. Two officers now face trial.

That Facebook group has been credited with sparking a public outcry over police torture and helping inspire the protests demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year rule.

Google had launched a service to help Egyptians use Twitter, despite government Internet restrictions, by dialing a telephone number and leaving a voice mail that would then be sent on the online serviceEgyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing in Cairo, has been released.