Egypt's prosecution orders release of 122 detainees pending trial

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Jun 2015

The detainees were released based on a decision which suggested there was insufficient evidence to keep them in jail

Egypt’s general prosecutor on Tuesday ordered the release of 122 people who were detained pending trial, and said the release comes after a decision to revise the status of suspects who were detained without sufficient evidence.

The release is based on a decision in 2013, which assigned the technical office [of the general prosecutor] to check and revise cases of temporary detainees.    

“In the occasion of the approach of Ramadan (the Islamic Holy Month), the general prosecutor has ordered the release of 122 suspects... where not enough evidence was available regarding their involvement in crimes subject to investigations,” a statement by the general prosecutor’s office said.

The statement assured any suspect’s right to appeal a decision to imprison them pending trial.

It is still unclear what charges these detainees face.

Egypt’s prosecution has been blamed by detainees – those accused of illegal protesting and links to violence or terrorism -- of indefinitely keeping suspects in custody despite little or no evidence of their involvement in criminal activity without referring them to trial.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has alluded in speeches that innocent citizens may have been unjustly treated due to Egypt’s exceptional circumstances.

Egyptian security forces have carried out a sustained crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood – now a banned “terrorist” group – and its supporters following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and violent clashes with the police and army forces.

Tens of Egyptians have protested their imprisonment pending trial by going on hunger strikes. Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah El-Shami was released in 2014 due to the severe deterioration of his health after a hunger strike.

El-Sisi promised earlier in 2015 to release many who had been unjustly imprisoned. So far hundreds, mostly students, have been released.

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