Sisi pardons 82 prisoners including TV host Islam Behery

Thursday 17-11-2016 06:17 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a seminar on Oct 10, 2016. ASWATMASRIYA

CAIRO, Nov 17 (Aswat Masriya) – President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued pardons for 82 young detainees, who have been imprisoned in cases related to protesting, according the Middle East News Agency (MENA).

The pardon comes weeks after Sisi ordered the formation of a national committee to examine cases of imprisoned youth who did not receive final verdicts yet, during the youth forum in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Among the pardoned detainees is Islamic researched and TV host Islam Behery, who was sentenced to one year in prison in December 2015 on charges of religious contempt.

The list also includes students and others detained for protesting including physician Ahmed Saeed, who was serving a two-year sentence for participating in a protest commemorating the anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes in 2015.

Saeed's sister Lamia told Aswat Masriya that the release came as a surprise and Saeed himself did not know anything about the pardon until this morning.

The family had sent the case documents to the committee, and according to Lamia they cooperated in reviewing the case.

The list also includes photojournalist Mohamed Aly Salah.

Behery’s pardon came one month before his prison term was due to end. Similarly, Salah was scheduled for release next month.

Khaled Al-Balshy, head of freedoms committee at the Journalists' Syndicate told Aswat Masriya that the syndicate sent a list of 29 journalists behind bars, the very next day the committee was formed.

“Even though only one was released, we still consider this a victory,” he said.

According to Al-Balshy, Salah was arrested in 2013 on charges of protesting while covering a protest in Nasr City.

The 29 journalists arrested include 11 journalists who are syndicate members, while others have exceeded the legal pretrial detention phase such as photojournalist Mahmoud Abo Zeid (Shawkan). Al-Balshy hopes that the new group of pardoned detainees will include more journalists as some of them are in critical health conditions.

The committee’s work was extended indefinitely with more people expected to receive pardons, writer Nashwa Al-Hofy, and one of the committee members told state TV on Thursday.

In previous statements, Al-Hofy had said that the committee will not examine cases of detainees who were involved in violence acts, including prominent political activists Alaa Abdel Fattah, and Ahmed Douma.

Ahmed Osman, lawyer at Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), told Aswat Masriya the association did not to send any names to the committee or cooperate with it, as it remains skeptical of their intention to release political activists. 

“It’s just media propaganda. All of the names we sent before were not examined,” he said.


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