An Egyptian woman hugs a youth who was released from Cairo's Tora prison on November 18, 2016 - AFP
CAIRO - 20 May 2018: The Presidential Pardon Committee will start receiving the release demands of detainees in protest cases by the end of the holy month of Ramadan to issue the fifth pardon list.
The presidential committee has been formed to examine cases of young Egyptians detained in the events that followed the January 25 revolution. It examines the cases of prisoners and determines those who deserve a pardon in order to be released before finishing their prison sentences according to presidential decree no. 18/2018.
On Saturday, parliamentarian Tarek al-Khouly, a member of the Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee announced that the number of prisoners in protest cases is not specified; a number of detainees are pending the final ruling, others are waiting a release sentence and some others are prisoned pending investigations.
He asserted that the number of release requests received by the committee has decreased, in a positive outcome of the committee's efforts which resulted in releasing more than 900 cases.
Khouly earlier said that the constitution only grants the president the right to pardon prisoners who have been handed final sentences by Egypt’s courts.
A pardon issued by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Wednesday granted 332 prisoners their freedom. The issuing of the pardon coincided with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems. Pardoned prisoners included Andrew Nassef Salib, a member of the leftist under-construction Bread and Freedom Party, who is serving five years in prison over charges of inciting terrorism; and Islam Fouad Kasem, a member of the liberal Dostour (Constitution) party, who was jailed over participating in illegal protests.
During former President Adly Mansour’s interim governance in 2013, the protest law was issued to provide the Ministry of Interior the right to cancel, postpone or move any protest deemed hazardous.
Sisi has released a decree to amend the Protest Law in May 2017, obligating the minister of interior to submit a request to a court of first instance to cancel, postpone, or change the place or route of a protest in case it threatens public security.
In October 2016, President Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.
In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam”.
A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.
On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.
On Police Day and the anniversary of the January Revolution in 2018, a pardon list was issued to give 477 Egyptian prisoners their freedom.