CAIRO: Forty-one women debtors were released from prison in Minya Saturday per the first phase of an initiative launched by the President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to free Egyptian debtors.
The freed women were celebrated in their home governorate by Minya governor Salah el-Din, members of Specialized Council for Societal Development at the presidency, which is responsible of following up on the initiative, and some religious clerics.
Youm7 reported that the total money paid for the debtors is estimated at 1,200,000 EGP (U.S $157,000.)
VetoGate news website reported that the initiative aims to release 171 women debtors.
Debtors may face up to a three-year sentence according to Article 376 in the penal code, away from their children and families, for their accumulated debts.
Often, women fall into debt in Egypt after failing to pay back money borrowed for family expenses like helping a daughter get married or for financing medical treatment.
Sometimes people are fooled by traders making them sign blank promissory notes to buy their essentials, while traders then write an inflated value and extort payment more than the amount borrowed.
Only when the debtors pay, have their debts paid for them, or the trader pardons them, are they released from prison. Sometimes the debt is a small amount of money, but due to low income, some debtors are left behind bars.
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi, Asmaa Mostafa and Nour Zulfakkar.