Two-hundred and three people held in Egyptian prisons on convictions related to illegal assembly and protest have been pardoned by presidential decree, the presidential spokesperson announced on Monday.
Those included on the decree signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi include five detainees over the age of 60 and 14 over 50, while the youngest is 17-year-old Mahmoud Mamdouh.
Five others who were pardoned had documented health issues.
Following the recommendations that emerged from the first annual National Youth Conference in October, the president’s office formed in November a committee made up of politician Osama al-Ghazaly Harb and former leading April 6 Youth Movement member Tarek al-Khouly among others. The committee was tasked with reviewing the cases of those imprisoned and detained on protest-related charges.
The 82 first pardons were announced two weeks after the committee was formed and included both those who had received final sentences and had been being held in pretrial detention on charges connected to political activity.
Television host and reformist preacher Islam al-Beheiry and photojournalist Mohamed Salah were among those released by the decree. However, Beheiry was two weeks away from finishing his one-year sentence for contempt of religion, and Salah would have finished his prison term in September. Sisi notably did not pardon any political prisoners or detainees serving longer sentences.
The committee repeatedly asserted that a second pardon list would follow soon after the first.
National Council for Human Rights George Ishak previously told Mada Masr that the committee will prioritize prisoners of conscience who had not been implicated in violence, as well as those suffering from health complications and those above 80 years old.