Egypt's press union sends list of 29 detained journalists to win pardons

Ahram Online , Thursday 3 Nov 2016

The freedoms committee of Egypt's press syndicate has submitted a list of 29 detained journalists to a new committee that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi tasked with reviewing the cases of young people held in pretrial detention.

The names were also sent to the National Council for Human Rights and the parliament's human rights committee to include them among those entitled to legal pardons, the committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

Fourteen of the 29 have been detained without trials, with some having exceeded the maximum two-year pretrial detention period mandated by Egyptian law, the union said. Only ten of the names included are members of the syndicate.

Among the names included are Ahmed Naji who was sentenced earlier this year to two years in prison for writing a "sexually explicit' novel, and photojournalist Mahmoud Abo-Zeid -- known as Shawkan -- who was arrested in August 2013 while taking photographs of the government's forced dispersal of a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

During a youth conference in Sharm El-Sheikh last week, President El-Sisi hinted at possible pardons for young people imprisoned without conviction and said a committee would be formed to review the cases of young people held in pretrial detention. The committee has two weeks to review the cases, before presenting its findings to the presidency.

The president also promised to amend a controversial protest law under which hundreds of young people have been jailed, and which rights groups have condemned as unconstitutional.

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