Google executive's release in Egypt confirmed by family

By @ibtimes on

Google Inc executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing in Cairo, has been released and is headed home, a family member told Reuters on Monday.

Yes, we spoke to Wael. He has been released and he is on his way home, a member of his family told Reuters by telephone. It was not clear who or what organization had been holding him.

Al Arabiya television earlier had reported Ghonim had been released and was on his way to Tahrir Square, the center of weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

Asked whether Ghonim was on his way to the square, the family member replied: He is on his way home.

Ghonim was later shown on ON TV on his way to a close relative's home conversing energetically in a car with Hossam Badrawi, the new secretary general of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party.

Ghonim told ON TV: Please don't make me a hero. I'm not a hero. I have been asleep for 12 days. I hope that we would be able to put an end to all the rubbish in this country. The rubbish really needs to be cleaned up.

Ghonim added that the initial intention behind the organized protests in Egypt was that they be peaceful.

Orascom Telecom Chairman Naguib Sawiris said on Sunday that the authorities had promised him Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, would be freed.

Google said last week that Ghonim had not been seen since January 27 and began a public search for him, giving out a telephone number for information about him.

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.

Ghonim's brother, contacted by Reuters, said the family had seen the Al Arabiya report but had no further information.

Protests on a scale unprecedented during President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule have raged across the most populous Arab country since January 25.

Google earlier 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 service.

(Reporting by Marwa Awad, Alexander Dziadosz and Jonathon Wright; editing by Michael Roddy)

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