Egypt parliamentary committee to discuss release of young detainees Sunday

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 29 Oct 2016

The proposed list of young detainees who may be pardoned would not include those sentenced for terrorism-related crimes

File photo of Egypt's Parliament in session. (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's parliamentary human rights committee will prepare a list of youth detained for political reasons to be released in accordance with recommendations issued by the first National Youth Conference last week.

In a press statement on Saturday, the chairman of Egypt’s parliamentary human rights committee Alaa Abed said members of the committee would meet on Sunday to discuss two main recommendations that were issued at the closing ceremony of the first National Youth Conference last Thursday.

The conference, held in Sharm El-Sheikh and attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and a number of high-ranking officials, proposed the formation of a national commission of youth to be entrusted with reviewing the cases of young people who are detained pending investigation to see whether they can be pardoned and finally released.

It also promised that the controversial 2013 protest law, which left thousands of demonstrators in jail, would be amended.

Abed told reporters that the committee would discuss the possibility of holding talks with the proposed national youth commission to see what kind of criteria and benchmarks would determine eligibility for release.

"I think all young people who were detained for political reasons can be released in line with the conference's initiative, but those who were detained on terrorist, manslaughter, sabotage, and blaze charges will not be part of this initiative or receive any presidential pardon," said Abed.

Mohamed Al-Ghoul, deputy chairman of the human rights committee, also insisted that "President El-Sisi was quite clear during the conference that there will be no reconciliation with the terrorist group of the Muslim Brotherhood."

"I think that members of this group will not receive any kind of presidential pardon because most of them were involved in terrorist activities," said Al-Ghoul.
President Al-Sisi told the youth conference on 27 October that he has no intention of holding any kind of reconciliation talks with the Muslim Brotherhood.

"This is the decision of the state and not me alone," said El-Sisi, adding that "the Brotherhood group has rejected any kind of participation in the political process in Egypt since 3 July 2013 (the day former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted from office)."

"If they had accepted participation, their political position would have been different by now," El-Sisi said.

Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the chairman of parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs committee, told reporters on Saturday that "young people who were sentenced to prison terms under final judicial rulings or who were detained on terrorism or sabotage-related charges will not be pardoned under the conference's initiative."

Abed indicated that in the upcoming Sunday meeting, parliament's human rights committee will also discuss opening contacts with the semi-government National Council for Human rights to discuss amendments proposed to the 2013 protest law.

"The Council has already prepared its own package of amendments to this law and we can reach a unified position on this before submitting to President El-Sisi and to parliament," said Abed.

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