Final list for pardons won't include Brotherhood members, says committee on Egyptian detainees

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Nov 2016

Osama El-Ghazaly Harb of the presidential committee to review cases of detained youth (Photo: Ahram)

The committee formed last week by the president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to review the cases of Egyptian youth detainees said on Wednesday that the final list it would send to the president for consideration would not include Muslim Brotherhood members.

Tarek El-Kholi, an MP and a member of the committee, told parliamentary reporters that the committee is currently discussing with the authorities on who could be included on the final list.

El-Kholi said the committee has not received any requests from the Brotherhood for the release of their detainees.

The committee will conclude its task by presenting the final list to El-Sisi on 20 November, El-Khouli added.

He explained that the committee has divided its final list into two groups.

The first group would include names of individuals who received final court verdicts. The names in this  section will go to the Egyptian presidency as the sole authority entitled with pardoning detainees who have received a final verdict.

The second group includes detainees under precautionary detention especially minors or those suffering illnesses. However, since this second group does not qualify for a presidential pardon per current Egyptian law, El-Khouli said that the justice ministry could draft a new legislation allowing the president to issue a full pardon for those who have not yet received final verdicts.

The committee to review the cases of Egyptian youth detainees was first proposed by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during the National Youth Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh in late October, and was tasked with reviewing the cases of young people held in detention.

The committee includes five members: prominent politician and member of 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 Karim El-Sakka, a former member of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's electoral campaign.

The only presidential pardon issued came in September 2015, and led to the release of 100 prisoners, including tens who were convicted of breaking the controversial protest law in the November 2013 Shura Council demonstration case and the January 2014 Ittihadiya demonstration case.

The government has designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in late 2013 after a series of deadly attacks by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on security forces.

Thousands of Brotherhood members and other Morsi supporters have been convicted and received jail sentences on various criminal charges. Hundreds of non-Islamists have also been detained or face trial for mainly breaking the protest law.

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