CAIRO: The Cabinet ratified Thursday a presidential decree issued May 20 that cancelled decisions issued by former President Mohamed Morsi to pardon Islamist prisoners.
Former President Mohamed Morsi took a number of decisions to release political prisoners during his one-year tenure, and had said the decisions came to honor his commitments to release the people arrested during the revolution.
The decision to ratify the cancellation comes to “meet the requirements of Egypt’s national security,” the Cabinet said in a press statement, adding that the political prisoners had committed a number of crimes threatening the security of the country and citizens after their release.
Rights activist Mohamed Zarea, Chairperson of Arab Organization for Criminal Reform, told Al-Watan news Thursday that Morsi’s decision did not include any of those people who had been involved in terrorism, but instead releases those were arrested from January 25 Revolution until June 30, 2012.
Zarea was a member of the committee formed by the former President to release the revolutionaries arrested during the revolution and the rule of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF.)
“The released prisoners accused of committing terrorist actions were tried before the military courts. The committee advised to re-prosecute them before the civil courts that acquitted them later, including Jihadist leader Mohamed Al-Zawahry.”
Legal expert Nijad Al-Borei praised the Cabinet’s decision, describing it as a “constitutional” decision; he added in a statement to Youm7 that the Egyptian authorities should review the other decisions taken by the former president that pose serious threat against the national security.
Rights expert Hossam Bahgat, however, said in a Thursday press statement the prisoners accused of returning to commit terrorist actions were released by the SCAF, not Morsi.” He added that former Attorney General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud also released a number of prisoners.