Egypt pardons 584 prisoners for 25 January anniversary

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Jan 2015

The names of those pardoned have not yet been announced

Tahrir Square
File Photo: View of Tahrir Square, Wednesday 25 Jan 2012 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egyptian authorities have ordered pardons for 584 prisoners on the occasion of the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution and Police Day, the interior ministry announced Thursday.

Authorities did not yet announce the names of those pardoned.

Last week, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree to pardon some prisoners on the occasion, leaving the selection to the interior ministry after setting criteria for the pardons.

The decree applies to those with life sentences whose jail time will have reached 15 years on 25 January 2015. It also applies to those who received prison sentences of at least six months, if half of their sentences will have been served by 25 January.  

It does not apply, however, to those imprisoned for certain crimes, including felonies and misdemeanours that harm the government internally or externally, involvement with explosives, weapons and ammunition, drugs, illegal profiteering, and bribes, forgery and obstructing traffic.

Dozens of activists are in jail, either with sentences or pending trial, with their supporters hoping for their swiift release.

Egypt introduced a protest law in November 2013, deemed too restrictive by local and international rights groups, that has seen hundreds arrested under its provisions.

Many Muslim Brotherhood loyalists are also in jail for breaking the protest law or on accusations of violence and rioting.  

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