File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ( Photo: Reuters)
Chairman of the Egyptian parliament's human rights committee Alaa Abed said Sunday that a list of 134 individuals currently in detention pending investigation was submitted to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to see whether they are eligible for pardon.
“We will not make the names of these 134 young people public so that some do not feel shocked if they find out that their names are not on the list,” said Abed.
A committee reviewing the cases of youths detained for non-violent “politically related crimes,” which was formed after the National Youth Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh in late October, met with El-Sisi on Saturday, after which committee member Karim El-Sakka confirmed to Ahram Online that 83 detainees will be released within a few days.
Abed also said that the committee will hold another meeting to prepare a new list of jailed individuals who have exhausted their court appeals.
Egypt's presidency announced on Saturday that the committee will expand its scope to include prisoners who have received final verdicts in crimes involving protest, publishing and expression. The review panel was previously only tasked with reviewing cases of defendants under precautionary detention.
“President El-Sisi suggested that those serving final prison sentences also be included as part of his pardon initiative and in accordance with the Sharm El-Sheikh National Youth Conference,” said Abed.
The five-member committee comprises prominent politician and member of the Free Egyptians Party Osama El-Ghazaly Harb, writer Nashwa El-Houfy, MP Tarek El-Kholy, National Council for Human Rights member Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, in addition to El-Sakka, a former member of President El-Sisi's electoral campaign.
According to the presidency's statement, the committee has been in communication with the National Council for Human Rights and the parliamentary human rights committee, as well as political parties, unions, rights organisations and the families of detainees. The committee is also coordinating with the interior and justice ministries.
Abed also disclosed that parliament's human rights committee will conduct field visits to a number of prisons in upcoming weeks to review the human rights situation of prisoners.
“Officials with the interior ministry said they welcome any visits from parliament's human rights committee,” said Abed.
In 2015, the president pardoned 100 prisoners, including dozens who were convicted of violating the controversial protest law during the 2013 Shura Council demonstrations and the 2014 Ittihadiya demonstrations.