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Egypt committee to pardon youth prisoners preparing third list, second batch pending at presidency

Hadeer El-Mahdawy , Monday 30 Jan 2017
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The committee tasked with preparing names of imprisoned youths for a presidential pardon is compiling a third list to be submitted to the presidency, Karim El-Sakka, a member of the panel, told Ahram Online on Monday.

The second list, according to El-Sakka, was recently submitted to the presidency but is still awaiting approval.

El-Sakka said he could not reveal the number or names on the list, but he confirmed "the list includes people who received final verdicts including students, women, people accused of contempt of religion, journalists, and members of a number of syndicates."

On 17 November 2016, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi pardoned all 82 prisoners included on the first list recommended for pardon by the committee.

The list mostly included students, but also recommended former TV host and Islamic studies researcher Islam El-Behery and doctor Ahmed Saeid.

In late October 2016, El-Sisi formed the committee to review the cases of youth imprisoned in politically related cases as well as humanitarian cases such as when families have more than one member imprisoned.

Article 155 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that the president has the power to issue a pardon or mitigate a sentence after consulting with the cabinet.

"We are adopting the same criteria we followed from the beginning, all prisoners [in politically-related cases] are eligible to be included in the list except those who committed violence, or members in terrorist groups," El-Sakka added.

The controversial 2013 protest law, which was widely criticised by local and international rights groups, led to the detention of thousands of protesters.

Last December, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court issued a ruling deeming Article 10 of the protest law, which permits the country’s interior minister to bar scheduled protests, “unconstitutional.”

The ruling added that those looking to organise street protests are merely obliged to notify authorities, and are not required to obtain prior approval.

Earlier this month, the parliament’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee approved a bill to amend the protest law in accordance with a Supreme Constitutional Court verdict.

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