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Egypt's committee to pardon youth prisoners preparing fourth list of candidates

The selection criteria allow for the release of political prisoners, but not those found guilty of violence or terrorism charges

Hadeer El-Mahdawy , Sunday 24 Sep 2017
Karim El Sakka
Karim El Sakka a Member of Egypt's committee to pardon youth prisoners (Photo: Ahram Arabic gate)
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Egypt's presidential committee to pardon youth prisoners has started preparing a fourth list of prisoners to be pardoned, committee member Karim El-Sakka told to Ahram Online on Sunday.

The list is due to be delivered to the president for approval when it is finished, said El-Sakka, although no firm date has yet been set.

El-Sakka previously told Ahram Online that the committee is adopting selection criteria that include political prisoners, but exclude those involved in violence or terrorism.

"All prisoners are eligible to be included in the list, except those who committed violence, or members of terrorist groups," he said.

In June, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued an official pardon for 502 prisoners in a number of cases, including some in protest-related jail-sentences, 175 of them based on the third list of the committee.

El-Sisi had issued two previous group pardons for young people, most of them jailed for violating the 2013 protest law.

The first pardon decree, in November 2016, included 82 prisoners, while and the second, in March 2017, included 203 prisoners.

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

Many of those considered for pardon have been jailed under the controversial 2013 protest law, which has been widely criticised by local and international rights groups. Many of those arrested also face charges of thuggery, using force or belonging to illegal groups.

Thousands have been detained for violating the protest law since it was issued in November 2013. The law mandates 1-3 years in jail for violators.

Egypt's 2014 constitution guarantees citizens the right to peaceful protest.

In late October 2016, El-Sisi formed the committee to review the cases of those imprisoned in politically related crimes and others who meet certain other conditions, such as families who have more than one relative in jail.

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