Google executive Wael Ghonim was released from prison Monday night, after holding a meeting with Egypt’s new Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy. Ghonim was the administrator of the Facebook page which some believe led to the pro-democracy protests of the past two weeks. He was arrested by the Mukhabarat (Egypt’s secret police) two days into the demonstrations, and his whereabouts were unknown until Sunday, when authorities confirmed to an Egyptian businessman that he was in their hands.
Almost immediately after his release, an exhausted Ghonim appeared on a televised interview with Egyptian journalist Mona El Shazly. He insisted on being interviewed in Arabic first, and early this morning he tweeted, “Sorry I don’t speak with foreign media about the situation in Egypt.” Earlier, he expressed his gratitude for Google for searching for him during his disappearance.
During his interview, Ghonim said that he was not tortured and generally treated well, although he was kept blindfolded during the first few days of his incarceration. Earlier he said that he does not consider himself a hero, but rather someone who had slept for twelve days. The real heroes, he added, were in the streets protesting the regime.
Since his release, Ghonim is emerging as a leader of the protesters. Journalist Mona Eltahawy tweeted, “Those worried that #Egypt revolution was beginning to sag, Wael @Ghonim intvu gave it shot of adrenaline in the heart. Yalla [Go], Egypt!”
Ghonim himself is also on Twitter, and most recently informed the world that he is heading to Tahrir Square today. “Tahrir Square is blocked. We are trying to get there now. Egyptians are making history.”
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