Deputy chairperson of Egypt s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), Mohamed Anwar Esmat El-Sadat
"The release of prisoners who were in custody pending trial – which began one week ago – will continue until we close this file," said Sadat, expressing hope that "presidential pardon decrees will include all those who were convicted for activities related to their political, civilian, opinion and protest rights."
El-Sadat – who is also a former MP and the chairperson of the liberal Reform and Development Party – said Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's invitation for a political dialogue with all national civilian forces comes amid international and regional economic and social challenges.
El-Sadat also said the invitation is a response to the call by the nation's political forces for greater participation in drawing up policies related to the country’s future and achieving the people's aspirations and hopes.
El-Sadat, said President El-Sisi's call for a national political dialogue last week coincided with a number of steps.
"It began with eliminating the state of emergency, kicking off the national strategy for human rights. And then came the Presidential Pardon Committee's decision to release a number of those who were convicted for exercising activities related to their political, civilian, free speech and protest rights," said El-Sadat.
"The reason why the file of political prisoners did not get priority in the last period was due to the fact that the state was heavily involved in fighting terrorism and violence, restoring internal stability, achieving a number of economic, financial and development reforms, and recovering Egypt's influential role in the Arab world and Africa."
El-Sadat concluded by revealing that since it was reconstituted last December, the NCHR has placed the issue of releasing political prisoners at the top of its agenda.
"Here in Egypt and in our visits abroad, we stressed that we will adopt this agenda and achieve success in this file in order to preserve the honour of all Egyptians and gain the confidence and respect of the world community and our international partners," said El-Sadat.