Egypt's presidency pardons 100 including Sanaa Seif and Yara Sallam

Wednesday 23-09-2015 04:13 PM
Egypt's presidency pardons 100 including Sanaa Seif and Yara Sallam

CAIRO, Sept 23 (Aswat Masriya) - Activists Sanaa Seif and Yara Sallam and journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are among 100 granted a presidential pardon on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the presidency.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the release from prison of 100 people convicted for violating the protest law, as well as other given health amnesty.  

Egypt will observe the Islamic Eid holiday on Thursday. Presidential pardons are regularly issued ahead of national holidays to allow detainees to spend them with their families.

The presidency is expected to pardon 358 others on Thursday.

Egypt's protest law has long been the epicentre of wide criticism by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards for peaceful protest.

Seif, sister of prominent political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, and human rights defender Yara Sallam were part of a group arrested on June 21, 2014 while taking part in a march calling for the repeal of the protest law and the release of all those arrested for violating it. 

They were serving a three-year sentence after facing a widely-condemned trial. 

Meanwhile, Fahmy and Mohamed are two of three journalists arrested in Cairo while working for the Qatari network Al Jazeera English in December 2013.

Fahmy and Mohamed, along with Australian Journalist Peter Greste were initially sentenced to prison in June 2014 but a court ordered their retrial earlier this year. The sentence was reduced to three years amid a global uproar. 

Aswat Masriya did not obtain a full list of the names of those slated for release. It's unclear whether other high profile cases like Seif's brother Abdel Fattah will be among them. 

Sisi's pardon comes one day ahead of his visit to New York to head Egypt's delegation at the United Nations General Assembly's 70th meeting. 

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