The Egyptian Ministry of Interior pardoned 139 prisoners on Tuesday in honour of Sinai Liberation Day.
The Prison Service sector in the Interior Ministry held committees to examine the files of prisoners across the nation to determine the remaining years of their sentences.
The decision came in implementation of presidential decree No. 167 for 2017. The ministry noted that the prisoners have been already released.
Moreover, the ministry also provided a conditional pardon to an additional 123 prisoners.
“This comes within the framework of the Ministry of Interior’s keenness to uphold the values of human rights and to apply the penal code,’’ read a ministry statement.
The ministry grants pardons to prisoners in a regular manner before major occasions.
Three months ago, a presidential pardon to 203 prisoners was made for the second list that was recommended by the Presidency’s Detained Youth Committee, whereas the first list released in November included 82 presidential pardons. This list included TV presenter Islam Al-Beheiry and doctor Ahmed Saeed.
The committee was established based on recommendations made during the National Youth Conference, which took place in October. During the conference, the veteran politician Osama Al-Ghazali Harb called on the president to release young detainees.
This committee faced great criticism by politicians and members of the civil society, who viewed its member as not qualified to decide on pardons, especially since they do not have a strong legal background. Additionally, a number of the committee’s members are known for their reluctance to release political detainees.
Muslim Brotherhood members are excluded from the committee lists. Other well known detainees accused of belonging to the brotherhood have also been excluded from the list. The brotherhood was labelled as a terrorist organisation in 2013, following a court decision that banned the group and held them accountable under Article 86 of the Egyptian penal code.