Opposition supporters demonstrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo on February 4, 2011.

© 2011 Reuters

(New York, February 4, 2011) - Egyptian authorities on February 4, 2011, released researchers from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and two foreign journalists, but should immediately free Egyptian colleagues who are still detained, Human Rights Watch said today.

"We are delighted our international colleagues have been released," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "But the Egyptian lawyers and rights monitors held should be freed at once."

Those released among more than 30 people arbitrarily arrested on February 3, 2011, were Daniel Williams, a Human Rights Watch researcher; Amnesty International researcher Said Haddadi and a female colleague; and two foreign reporters.

Remaining in detention are Ahmed Seif Al Islam, the former director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and at least nine other lawyers associated with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center or volunteers from the Front to Defend Egypt's Protesters.

"The Egyptian government should never have arrested human rights monitors and journalists in the first place," said Roth. "The Egyptians still being held have a vital role to play as Egypt's crisis and serious human right abuses continue. The authorities need to free them without further delay."