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Egypt frees boys held for alleged Koran defiling

An Egyptian security official says authorities have ordered the release of two Coptic Christian boys taken into in juvenile detention for allegedly urinating on the Koran, but they will remain under investigation.

Security chief Gen. Attiya Mazrou in Beni Suef province south of Cairo says the boys, ages 9 and 10, were taken Thursday to a police station to await their parents.

A local radical cleric had publicized the alleged defiling. Rights groups say the incident showcases Islamist intimidation of Copts, estimated at 8 to 10 percent of the population.

Seventeen cases of alleged contempt of religion have been filed since the January 2011 uprising, including at least five in recent weeks, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights says.

It was not immediately possible to reach the boys' family.