March to Egypt's presidential palace for release of political prisoners

Ahram Online, Saturday 11 Aug 2012

Youth call for march to the presidential palace to increase pressure for the release of political prisoners and retrial of civilians sentenced in military tribunals

Prisoners iftar protest
Political activists and relatives of political prisoners, imprisoned since the "25 January Revolution", take their Iftar meal to break their fast during Ramadan in front of the main gate of Tora prison July 29, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Several political youth groups call for a march to take place on Saturday at 9:00pm, starting from downtown Cairo and heading towards the presidential palace to demand the release of all political prisoners.

The event launched on several social media venues demands that all political prisoners receive immediate pardons from the president, similar to ones issued days earlier.

President Mohamed Morsi had issued a pardon for 572 political prisoners earlier last month. He also formed a committee to follow up on the detainees still in military prisons. Estimates are that there are still more than 2000 civilians facing military sentences.  

The April 6 Movement has also called for an iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast on Saturday at Tora prison, where many are still detained. The movement emphasises that it has long protested the trial of civilians through military prosecution and that it has been demanding from the new president the retrial of political prisoners in civil courts.

The groups altogether criticise the president’s decision to release dozens of Islamist prisoners detained long before the revolution, while leaving many of the revolution’s prisoners in detention. President Morsi was fielded by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in their bid for presidency.

The recently released Islamist figure Mohamed El-Zawahri, brother of Al-Qaeda's Ayman El-Zawahri, claimed that of the 572 prisoners Morsi released and pardoned at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 25 were Jihad and ultra-orthodox Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya leaders.

Activists have long been demanding that all civilians facing military prosecution be retried by civil courts, instead.

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