Jailed Egyptian novelist Naji on 2nd presidential pardon list: Committee Member

Menna Alaa El-Din , Sunday 4 Dec 2016

Ahmed Naji
File Photo: Ahmed Naji

Egyptian author and journalist Ahmed Naji has been included on a second pardon list that would be presented to the presidency, a member of the prisoners' pardon committee told Ahram Online on Sunday.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz said Naji, who is serving two years in prison for publishing a “sexually explicit article” in a state-owned literary newspaper, is on the list of prisoners' proposed for pardon set to be presented to the presidency “within days.”

The committee to review the cases of Egyptian youth detainees was formed by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following the National Youth Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh in late October, and has been tasked with reviewing the cases of youth prisoners.

Abdel-Aziz added that the number of individuals included on the committee's second list is higher than the 82 prisoners - mostly students - who were pardoned by El-Sisi in mid-November.

He explained that the new list was penned down following proposals from the National Council of Human Rights (NCHR), the parliament's human rights committee, as well as online requests filled out on a website launched following the National Youth Conference last month.  

“Only those who received final verdicts in cases related to protesting or freedom of speech would be included on the list,” Abdel-Aziz said, adding that those convicted in violence related cases would not to be included.

Naji has not yet received a final verdict in his case. On Sunday, Egypt’s Court of Cassation adjourned a ruling on Naji's third appeal against his sentence to 18 December.

Abdel-Aziz also explained that the committee is considering submitting the names of certain individuals who have been detained pending investigation to the prosecutor-general, who holds jurisdiction in open cases, for a review of their status.

“It’s up to prosecutor-general to agree to review the cases of some detainees and reject others,” Abdel Aziz explained.

Under Egyptian law, individuals held in precautionary detention do not qualify for a presidential pardon.

Article 155 from the 2014 constitution stipulates that only “The President of the Republic may issue a pardon or mitigate a sentence after consulting with the Cabinet.”

Former TV host and Islamic studies researcher Islam El-Behery and MD Ahmed Saeid were among those pardoned in November..

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