New pardon decree might not help ‘revolutionaries’: lawyer
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A presidential decree issued Tuesday to pardon prisoners on the fourth anniversary of January 25 Revolution might not benefit most jailed “revolutionaries” with protest-related charges, Lawyer Tareq al-Awady told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

The decree, issued to commemorate both the January 25 Revolution and Police Day, applies to prisoners who have completed half of their prison terms (which must be at least six months,) by Jan. 25, 2015.

“Revolutionary youth will not benefit from this decree as it puts a condition of spending half of the prison term, and they have not,” said Laywer Awady.

He added “none of those who were sentenced in Ithadeya case and others like Ahmer Maher and Ahmed Doma have yet completed half of their prison terms.”

Maher and Doma received a three-year prison for an illegal protest in November 2013. For committing the same charge in June 2014 in what is known as the “Ithadeya incidents,” 32 activists were sentenced to two years in prison in December 2014.

Most of the activists who received jail sentences are accused of charges of illegal demonstration in violation of the Protest Law, which entered into force in November 2013. The law criminalizes any political demonstration without prior approval from security forces, and has received wide condemnation after it sent many activists to jail.

However, according to Awady’s previous statements, some of the prisoners might find another way for a release under a possible presidential pardon, but declined to give further details.

The presidential decree excludes prisoners convicted of certain crimes including: felonies and misdemeanors that harm the security of the government, bribery, fraud, disrupting transportation and others.

Awady added that the defendants who have spent half of their sentences and those who are accused of protesting-related charges only would qualify for consideration under the new decree.

“Some jailed Muslim Brotherhood with these specifications and also imprisoned students might benefit,” continued Awady.

Since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Brotherhood supporters and students have mounted a series of frequent protests, and many have been arrested. The Muslim Brotherhood was dissolved on Dec. 25, 2013, and the government criminalized membership or association to it, and also seized the assets of the organization.

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