President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced on Tuesday evening plans to form a youth committee to review the conditions of young people who are currently detained and to provide reports as a preliminary step to facilitate their release according to the law and the Constitution. The president’s declaration came during the National Youth Conference, currently held in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The president’s initiative came during the conference following a call by well-known writer and intellectual Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, who asked Al-Sisi to issue a presidential remission for young people detained for non-violent cases or who were not detained by a judicial verdict.
Egypt’s first National Youth Conference, entitled “Create …Go Ahead” began on Tuesday and is scheduled to last for three days. A number of prominent state figures, politicians, and media representatives are to attend, including Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. Several political party members and about 3,000 young people are also present for the conference, according to state media.
In his opening speech on the first day of the conference, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that the National Youth Conference will be held annually in order to bolster the connection between the state and its youth.
Moreover, and on the second day of the conference, the president pledged to organise a monthly meeting with youth leaders to follow up the execution of the recommendations that will come out of the conference.
“I will not wait until 2017 to hold a meeting with young people. Instead, we should schedule a monthly meeting with them to follow up on the execution of recommendations from this conference. Every committee should show what achievements were done concerning all recommendations,” Al-Sisi said on Wednesday afternoon during a seminar discussing relationships between public freedoms and political participation that was held during the conference.
On the second day, several young men who were participating welcomed the president’s initiative to form youth committees to review detainees’ conditions.
In a televised interview in June, Al-Sisi said that 90% of the young people in prison weere there due to their involvement in crime-related cases while the state is looking into the cases of the other 10%.
While the conference is ongoing, an online opposition campaign has been launched to publish the stories of detained youth. The online campaign includes political party members, former detainees, activists, and youth who previously announced that they were boycotting the conference. The campaign looks to explain the details of detained youth in prison who organisers believe must contend with human rights violations and medical negligence. The campaign seeks to circulate stories of enforced disappearance cases across social media platforms as well.