Rights groups welcome release of activists, journalists; demand amendment to pretrial detention law

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 May 2022

Egyptian human rights organisations have welcomed the Egyptian authorities’ decision to release a number of activists and journalists while demanding an amendment to the pretrial detention law.

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File Photo: Inmates leaving the prison of Tora Farm Prison after they were set free. Al-Ahram

 

In a joint statement, the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development, the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, and the Arab Network for Digital Media and Human Rights praised the reactivation of the Presidential Pardon Committee and the start of a political dialogue between all parties,

Both decisions were announced by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during the Egyptian Family Iftar banquet that gathered in late April Egyptian that was attended by a wide range of representatives of Egyptian society.

The pardon committee was first formed in October 2016 and facilitated the release of hundreds of prisoners via presidential pardons at the time.

The scope of the committee, which started work immediately upon reactivation, has been expanded to allow for cooperation with state institutions and NGOs and to cover male and female indebted prisoners.

During the banquet, El-Sisi assigned the National Youth Conference to conduct political dialogue with all parties and youth political powers on the current priorities of national action and to present its outcomes to him personally.

Following the event, the Egyptian authorities released a number of prisoners who received final court rulings in addition to pre-trail detainees. The lists included a number of activists and journalists.

The human rights organisations said the decision accompany the issuance of the National Strategy for Human Rights and the declaration of 2022 as the ‘Year of Civil Society, in addition to ending the state of emergency, indicating the existence of a political will on the part of the Egyptian state to improve human rights conditions.

The organisations that signed the statement value the measures announced by the Presidential Pardon Committee after its reformation, which include launching an electronic form to record requests submitted to the committee through the National Youth Congress’ website.

The joint statement also called upon the Egyptian Parliament to amend the pretrial detention law with the aim of ending the crisis of long-term detention and to use alternatives to pretrial detention such as electronic bracelets and confining detainees to their residence or within a specific geographical scope.

The openness to dialogue between youths and political currents, and concern for the right to freedom of expression pushes human rights in Egypt to better horizons, stressed the joint statement.

“It achieves for the Egyptian citizen the ability to enjoy the rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also achieves long-term political stability for the Egyptian state,” noted the statement.

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