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Egypt expected to free Coptic leader jailed by Sadat

The banished pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians is expected to be freed in time to celebrate the Coptic Christmas on Jan. 7, church officials said Thursday.

They said they understood from government officials that Pope Shenouda III would be released soon from the desert monastery to which Anwar Sadat confined him in September 1981. Sadat stripped the pontiff of his temporal powers for allegedly encouraging sectarian strife and involving himself in politics.

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