Egypt pardons hundreds jailed for demonstrating

2018-05-16 17:28
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday pardoned more than 330 young people, most of whom had been convicted and jailed for their participation in illegal protests.

Egypt's president has the authority to pardon those who have been convicted and cannot appeal their sentences. Authorities in Muslim countries traditionally release prisoners on the eve of the fasting month of Ramadan as a show of mercy. Ramadan begins on Thursday this year.

In televised remarks, al-Sisi said he ordered that all the procedures be completed so the prisoners can "eat sohour at their homes," referring to the pre-dawn meal before the daily sunup-to-sundown fast.

Officials say a total of 332 prisoners will be released, including pro-democracy activists who were found in violation of a 2013 law that prohibits unauthorised protests.

Secular activists Andrew Nassef of the unofficial leftist Bread and Freedom Party, and Islam Fouad of the opposition Dostour (Constitution) party were among those pardoned, the officials said. Islam Marei, of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, is also on the list, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters.

Egypt has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since al-Sisi led the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his yearlong rule. Thousands of people have been jailed, including several prominent secular activists who defied the protest ban.

Those measures have virtually eliminated street activism in Egypt, where mass protests in 2011 ended President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule. The government has also cracked down on online organising by blocking hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and rights groups.

The government has defended such measures, saying it is trying to restore stability, revive the economy and defeat an Islamic State-led insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula.

Also on Wednesday, an Egyptian court added the names of 241 suspected Islamic militants to the country's terrorism watch list for five years. The designation bars them from travel and grants authorities the right to freeze their assets.

The Cairo Criminal Court said they are part of a group of 555 terror suspects who face military trial on charges of joining a local affiliate of the Islamic State group. The charges include killing and plotting to kill security personnel, attacking military checkpoints in northern Sinai and sabotaging a gas pipeline between Egypt and Jordan.

Only 216 of the 555 suspects are in custody, according to authorities.

An ISIS affiliate based in northern Sinai has carried out attacks across Egypt in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and the country's Christian minority.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    abdel fattah al sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.