CAIRO: The “Egypt without women debtors” initiative, sponsored by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has paid the debts of 84 women since May 2015, presidential consultant for social development Randa Rezq told Youm 7 Tuesday.
“The initiative members will celebrate Thursday with the release of the women jailed over debts and offer them gifts,” she said.
“There are entire families who were handed down prison sentences over debts charges. There was a family of 12 members with up to 40 debt lawsuits filed against them. Eventually, the court sent them to prison with different jail terms; ranging between 6 months and seven years,” Rezq added.
A total of 140,000 EGP have been paid to pay back the said family’s debts, according to Rezq.
In February, 41 women debtors were released from prison in Minya after having their debts, up to 1,200,000 EGP, paid for them, according to Youm7.
Only when debtors pay, or have their debts paid for them, or the person they owe pardons them, are they released from prison. Debtors may face up to a three years in prison, according to Article 376 in the Penal Code.
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. The odds increase when women are illiterate.
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.
Spokesperson for the Prisons Authority Mohamed Eliwa, told The Cairo Post in a previous report that there are 6,000 debtors are landing in prison across Egypt. However, he stressed that the figure is unstable.