Egypt releases a new batch of 60 pretrial detainees

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Oct 2023

Egyptian authorities released Saturday 60 pretrial detainees pending investigation in various cases related to spreading false news and misuse of social media, renowned human rights lawyer Khaled Ali announced.

File Photo: A snap shot of Prisoners hugging their relative after being released in front Wadi El-Natrun correctional facility. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Interior Facebook page.


According to the Head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate Khaled El-Balshy, the Egyptian authorities released Saturday a number of journalists and content creators who were arrested after they were accused mainly of spreading lies and false news, misusing social media, inciting assemblies, and joining and funding a terrorist group.

These include journalist Donia Samir, who was arrested in May 2022 and whose name had been submitted by the Journalists syndicate to the Prosecutor General and the Presidential Pardon Committee, El-Balshy said on his official Facebook page.  

In addition, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said the prosecution released four content creators pending investigation. These are Mohamed Hossam El-Din Hussein, Ahmed El-Khouly, Basma Samir, and Ziad Fathi Ramadan, who were arrested in January 2023 after creating a satirical video titled "The Visit," which depicted a woman visiting her thug boyfriend in prison.

Furthermore, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (ATFE) announced that the list of released pretrial detainees included four students, namely Mohamed Zahran, Karim Refaat, Mazen Reda, and Eslam Nagdy, who were arrested in August 2022 for creating a Facebook event called "Batman Helwan."

Human rights activists also reported that Mohamed Abdel-Latif, a member of Zamalek Sports Club's Ultras fan group, who was arrested in August 2021 on charges of joining a terrorist organization and spreading false news, was released on Saturday.

Finally, El-Balshy renewed his call to release the rest of the detained journalists.

Since April 2022, the Public Prosecution has released hundreds of pretrial detainees as part of the government's efforts to engage in a national dialogue with opposition and societal forces.

In addition, President El-Sisi issued several pardons for high-profile activists who had received final verdicts in various cases.

The Presidential Pardon Committee, established in 2016 to review the cases of pretrial detainees and others who fulfil specific criteria, was reactivated in April 2022.

The committee considers appeals from entities and political bodies, such as the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and Parliament’s Human Rights Committee. It also receives requests through its website.

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