Defense lawyers say an Egyptian court has released from detention a rights activist who had worked as a legal consultant to the family of Italian student Giulio Regeni who was tortured to death in Cairo this year.

Ahmed Abdullah, head of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an NGO, was arrested in April as part of a government crackdown on protesters campaigning against Egypt's intention to turn over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking Sunday, the lawyers said the court released Abdullah Saturday.

Charges against Abdullah, including inciting violence and attempting to overthrow the government, have not been dropped.

His release came one day after Egypt's top prosecutor acknowledged for the first time that Regeni was investigated by police just weeks before he disappeared on Jan. 25.