Egypt’s President Abdel al-Sisi pardons 560 prisoners

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood prisoners
Participants attend a court session for Muslim Brotherhood members, in Cairo, Egypt.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned 560 prisoners, the majority of whom were accused of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, two judicial sources said on Friday.

Of those pardoned, 482 were imprisoned on charges related to the Brotherhood, a decades-old Islamist political movement with a mass following, the sources said.

A prominent journalist, Abdel Halim Qandil, who was sentenced in 2017 to three years in prison on charges of insulting the judiciary, was also pardoned.

The pardoned prisoners also included two women who organized demonstrations outside metro stations last year after fare hikes.

The prisoners are expected to be released on Friday. The pardons were announced in the official gazette late on Thursday.

The Brotherhood won the first free elections after the 2011 uprising that ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, but was toppled by the army after a year in power.

Since then, the group has been banned and hundreds of its followers have been jailed. The Brotherhood says it is a non-violent movement and denies any relationship to violent insurgencies waged by al Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

Rights activists say Sisi has overseen a relentless crackdown on dissent in Egypt since 2014. At least 60,000 people have been jailed on political grounds, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate.

Sisi has denied holding political prisoners and his backers say the measures were necessary to stabilize Egypt after its 2011 uprising.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s