CAIRO: A presidential pardon might be issued to Ahmed Doma and Mohamed Sultan due to their poor health status, according to one of the Doma’s defense team Tareq el-Aywady.
The health of both Doma and Sultan has deteriorated, and both are now spending their imprisonment in hospital after each of them began a hunger strike that has lasted hundreds of days; both have denied their charges and demanded an unconditional release.
Rejecting to disclose his sources, Awady told The Cairo Post Saturday that it came to his knowledge that the President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi may use his constitutional right to pardon a group of detainees who have received final verdicts over charges of violating the infamous 2013 Protest Law. He added that if there is a pardon for Doma and Sultan, it would be over health reasons.
Doma has received a three-year prison sentence for an illegal protest in November 2013. He is also standing now a trial over 2011 Cabinet clashes.
Sultan, the son of a Muslim Brotherhood member, was accused among others over chaos took place following the dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in in August 2013.
The 32 Ithadeya activists, who were arrested in June 2014 over an anti-Protest law demonstration, are among the detainees who are expected to be pardoned, added Awady.
On Dec. 24, 2014, the 32 activists including Sanaa Seif, the sister of activist Alaa Abdel Fatah who is also standing trial over protest-related charges in a separate trial, had their jail sentences reduced from three to two years.
“A pardon should apply to all detainees who did not carry a weapon and who have just used their constitutional right to protest and express their opinion,” explained Awady.
He added “I hope this news [about the presidential pardon] is true and be applied;” however he believes the pardon is not the most fair judgment as “the cases are fabricated,” besides the fact that a pardon would only clear the punishment, and not absolve them of being convicted of a crime.
“Removing injustice is not justice; justice is holding the oppressor accountable,” continued Awady.
Under the 2013 Protest Law, protesting without police permission was criminalized, and thousands of protesters are held in prisons; some have been sentenced while others are facing prolonged detention.
The law was widely condemned by human rights groups as curbing a constitutional right to freedom of expression and gathering. Demands by activists and politicians to abolish the oppressive law or amending it failed to meet an approval from the government.
According to previous interviews conducted by The Cairo Post with judges, the motive behind using a presidential pardon should be in the “nation’s higher interest.” Sisi referenced this “higher interest” when he announced in November he would study a pardon for the three Qatari-based Al-Jazeera journalists, who have spent more than a year in prison over charges of spreading lies in favor of a “terrorist group,” in reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
A presidential pardon was one of the options facing the journalists until the Cassation Court overturned the old verdict Thursday, and brought back the case before a new criminal court for a retrial. The high court’s verdict prompted two of the jailed journalists, specifically with foreign nationalities, to seek the use of another presidential decree to deport them to home countries.