The Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive missing in Egypt for 10 days has been released.
The tech giant’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, Wael Ghonim, was cut free from government detention on Monday. It was mid-afternoon in Egypt.
"It is a huge relief that Wael Ghonim has been released," a Google spokesperson told Fox Business. "We send our best wishes to him and his family."
Ghonim, 30, emerged during the protests as a central anti-government figure, a supporter of democracy, and an activist that may have used social media to help spark the demonstrations. According to the Wall Street Journal, protestors declared they would not leave the Tahrir Square until he was released.
While it remains unclear at this time whether Ghonim played a role in organizing the current protests, his leadership in online activism surged in the months preceding the demonstrations, Egypt’s largest in more than 30 years.
He was one of four administrators running the first major anti-government Facebook page that subsequently became the virtual headquarters of the opposition, according to the Journal, citing an activist close to the matter. He also reportedly set up the official campaign website for opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei.
Billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris called Ghonim a hero in the Journal. The Google executive is reportedly expected to return to the square upon his release.