CAIRO: A first batch of detainees promised by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to be released “soon” include 140 who are mostly accused of violating the 2013 Protest Law, Hafez Abu Saeda, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
Abu Saeda refused to reveal to The Cairo Post the sources of the information, and the charges and the names of the to-be-released detainees are not yet available.
On Sunday, Sisi indicated in a televised address he would be releasing some detainees soon, in what appears as an application of his previous decree, saying he did not deny “there are innocent youth in prisons.”
A presidential decree issued last month indicated that certain detainees would be pardoned on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of January 25 Revolution. It applied for those who have completed half of their prison terms (which must be at least six months,) by the date Jan. 25, 2015.
So far, little is yet known about the decree and its application; Lawyer Tareq el-Awady excluded activists to benefit from Sisi’s decree as most of them “have yet not completed half of their prison terms,” in previous comments on the decree.
A presidential pardon, can be issued to prisoners who have received final court verdicts in their cases.
For those who will be released, according to Sisi’s initiative, they should not have committed violent acts or have attacked public or police installations.
Under the 2013 Protest Law, many activists received jail sentences for illegal protesting in addition to other charges like seizing weapons or attacking security personnel.
Following Sisi’s decree, human rights organizations submitted lists of names of detainees to the presidency; the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) submitted 600 names and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) submitted 206 names.
“The lists of names we have submitted to the presidency did not include those accused of violence or terrorism-related charges,” said Abu Saeda, member of NCHR. He also added that most of the detainees in the list are accused of protesting –related charges.
On Jan. 22, the public prosecution has also announced it had released 100 students in as part of its reviewing the legal status of some defendants who were arrested on charges of committing violence and illegal assembly.
On Monday, activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah was sentenced among others to five years in prison for charges including illegal protesting and attacking a police officer. His Lawyer Taher Aboul Nassr told The Cairo Post Wednesday he did not expect the decree to apply to his client.