Sisi expands mandate of committee reviewing cases of young detainees

Saturday 12-11-2016 06:30 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a meeting with members of the committee responsible for reviewing cases of young detainees on Nov. 12, 2016 - presidency photo

CAIRO, Nov 12 (Aswat Masriya) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked the newly-formed committee tasked with reviewing cases of young detainees on Saturday to expand its mandate to include those who were given final verdicts for publishing and protest cases.

The presidency announced the formation of the committee earlier in November to examine cases of youth held in pre-trial detention. The committee is to send its findings to the president in order to undertake needed legal procedures for their release.

During a meeting with committee members on Saturday, Sisi asked the committee to continue its work in order to finalise reviewing the lists of detainees presented to it, according to a presidency statement.

The committee began its review with cases of detained students “in order to secure their academic future” and then embarked on reviewing cases of detained youth who have not been given final sentences, the presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef said in the statement.

The committee includes representatives from the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), MP Tarek Al-Khouly, and Free Egyptians party’s board member Osama Al-Ghalazy Harb, among others.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, member of the committee and board member of the National Council for Human Rights, previously told Aswat Masriya that cases reviewed would exclude those “involved in violent acts.”

The committee was formed on the heels of the first national youth conference that was held late October in Sharm al-Sheikh.

Several rights lawyers were skeptical of the newly-formed committee, saying it should have included lawyers who have an extensive background in human rights issues.

Gamal Eid of the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that releasing detainees who have not yet received final verdicts gives the president “unconstitutional” authority, raising doubt as to the admissibility of the promises given by the committee.

Since the ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi, the Egyptian government has led a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, along with students, activists, journalists, according to human rights groups.

According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), at least 1,464 people alone are held in Egyptian prisons pending trial for periods that have exceeded the legal limit.

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