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Egypt's interior ministry begins preparations to release 82 pardoned prisoners

The ministry hasn't given specific dates when the pardoned prisoners will be released

Ahram Online , Thursday 17 Nov 2016
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An official source in Egypt's Ministry of Interior said the Department of Prisons has started procedures for the release of 82 prisoners who were pardoned Thursday by presidential decree.

State-run news agency MENA quoted the source as saying that the ministry is currently finalising the health condition and other status documents for those prisoners who are set to be released from Tora Prison in south Cairo.. 

The source did not give a specific date when the pardoned prisoners will be released.  

Ealier Thursday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi pardoned 82 prisoners, including prominent Islamic studies researcher Islam El-Behery, official news agency MENA announced.

According to the media office of the Egyptian presidency, most of the pardoned prisoners are university students.

The presidential statement said this was the first batch of imprisoned youth to be pardoned in accordance with Article 155 of the constitution.

Article 155 stipulates that the president may issue a pardon or mitigate a sentence after consulting with the cabinet.

The pardon comes based on the recommendations the committee formed by the presidency in late October to review the cases of youths detained for “politically related crimes," as well as other humanitarian cases.

Last week, the presidency expanded the scope of the committee's review task to include prisoners who have received final verdicts in crimes involving protest, publishing and speech.

The five-member committee comprises prominent politician and member of the Free Egyptians Party Osama El-Ghazaly Harb, writer Nashwa El-Houfy, MP Tarek El-Kholy, National Council for Human Rights member Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and former member of President El-Sisi's electoral campaign, Karim El-Sakka.

Members of the committee told Ahram Online previously that the first batch of pardoned prisoners would include 83 names.

The committee has been coordinating its work with the National Council for Human Rights and the parliamentary human rights committee, as well as political parties, unions, rights organisations and the families of detainees.

The committee is also coordinating with the interior and justice ministries.

In 2015, the president pardoned 100 prisoners, including dozens who were convicted of violating the controversial protest law during the 2013 Shura Council demonstrations and the 2014 Ittihadiya demonstrations.

The committee had been in communication with the National Council for Human Rights and the parliamentary human rights committee, as well as political parties, unions, rights organisations and the families of detainees.

Shortly after the pardon was announced, MP and member of the committee Tarek El-Khouly said in a statement that the committee is currently preparing a second list of prisoners, to be presented to El-Sisi for review.

In 2015, the president pardoned 100 prisoners, including dozens who were convicted of violating the controversial protest law during the 2013 Shura Council demonstrations and the 2014 Ittihadiya demonstrations.

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