Members of committee to review cases of Egyptian youth detainees announced

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Nov 2016

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
Egypt's president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the first National youth conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. (Photo: Egyptian Presidency)

The presidentially endorsed committee which will be tasked with reviewing cases of young detainees was formed on Tuesday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported Tuesday.

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.

This presidential initiative came upon recommendations made by El-Ghazaly Harb at the National Youth Conference held last week in Sharm El-Sheikh.

President El-Sisi had promised on several previous occasions to release detainees who have not been convicted of violent crimes: in December 2014, January and February 2015, and June 2016.

However, 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 2013 Shura Council and 2014 Ittihadiya cases.

The latest presidential initiative has been met by scepticism from some activist groups,

Still, Abdel Aziz told Ahram Online on Monday "There are three main guarantees which give strength to this particular initiative:"

"First, that the President expressed his concern about the issue on air; second, the involvement of political powers and parties, especially young party members who can better represent the case of young detainees; and third, the presence of two important institutions working on this initiative — the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), and the parliament's human rights committee," said Abdel-Aziz.

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