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Egypt to pardon some prisoners on 25 January

Egypt periodically pardons some prisoners to commemorate national holidays

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Jan 2015
Egypt prisoners
Prisoners behind bars in an Egyptian court (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has issued a decree to pardon some prisoners on the occasion of 25 January.   

El-Sisi issued the presidential decree to pardon some prisoners on 25 January, which presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said on Tuesday marks the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution as well as Police Day.

The decree applies to those with life sentences whose jail time will have reached 15 years on 25 January 2015.

It also applies to those who had received prison sentences – of at least six months – if half of their sentence will have been by 25 January.  

The decree does not apply, however, to those imprisoned for certain crimes including: felonies and misdemeanours that harm the government internally or externally, explosives, bribes, forgery, obstructing traffic, weapons and ammunition, drugs, and illegal profiting.    

Youssef also stated that security authorities will form a committee to select a group that could be pardoned.  

It is unconfirmed what crimes exactly fall under the label "harmful to government security.”

Egypt passed a protest law in November 2013 that local and international activists deemed too restrictive. Hundreds have been arrested under its provisions.

A large proportion of those arrested based on the protest law are loyalists to former president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood – a group the government outlawed and declared a "terrorist" organisation following Morsi’s ouster.

However, there are also other activists, generally known for being supporters of the 25 January revolution and their opposition to autocratic authorities, who are in prison – some for protesting the demonstration law itself. This includes Alaa Abd El-Fattah and his sister Sanaa, Yara Sallam, Ahmed Douma and Ahmed Maher.

Three Al-Jazeera English journalists have also been imprisoned for over a year and are currently on retrial. 

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