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HRW says Egypt's military-backed government must free 5 Morsi aides detained since July

  • Ahmed Maher, with sunglasses, the leader of the April 6 youth group that had a leading role in the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, tries to turn himself into prosecutors over an arrest warrant that charges him of inciting demonstrations against the new protest law, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. State television said prosecutors ordered Maher held until Sunday as investigators examine his case. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)

    Ahmed Maher, with sunglasses, the leader of the April 6 youth group that had a leading role in the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, tries to turn himself into prosecutors over an arrest warrant that charges him of inciting demonstrations against the new protest law, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. State television said prosecutors ordered Maher held until Sunday as investigators examine his case. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters hold up their identification cards, taunting the authorities to arrest them, during a demonstration to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested Tuesday while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A top Egyptian government official, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, strongly denounced a new protest law Saturday as police fired tear gas and used batons to beat back stone-throwing demonstrators in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)

    Protesters hold up their identification cards, taunting the authorities to arrest them, during a demonstration to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested Tuesday while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A top Egyptian government official, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, strongly denounced a new protest law Saturday as police fired tear gas and used batons to beat back stone-throwing demonstrators in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protester chants slogans near a Cairo court where supporters of the April 6 youth group gathered to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested Tuesday while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A top Egyptian government official, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, strongly denounced a new protest law Saturday as police fired tear gas and used batons to beat back stone-throwing demonstrators in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)

    A protester chants slogans near a Cairo court where supporters of the April 6 youth group gathered to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested Tuesday while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A top Egyptian government official, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, strongly denounced a new protest law Saturday as police fired tear gas and used batons to beat back stone-throwing demonstrators in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)  (The Associated Press)

Human Rights Watch has called on Egypt's military-backed government to immediately release from detention five aides of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The New York-based advocacy group said in a statement Sunday that the five have been held at an undisclosed destination since July 3, the day when the military ousted Morsi after millions demonstrated demanding he step down.

It said the five were among nine close Morsi aides detained on July 3. The other four have been transferred to regular prisons and are facing criminal charges.

According to HRW, the five still held at a secret location are: Essam el-Haddad, Morsi's top foreign policy adviser, Ayman Ali, who advised him on the affairs of Egyptian expatriates, aide Ayman el-Serafy, media adviser Abdel-Meguid el-Meshaly and foreign affairs aide Khaled el-Qazzaz.