Egypt announces release of 30 detainees

They were facing charges related to their 'opinions', official says

Protesters call for the release of imprisoned human rights and environmental activists around the world, during the Cop27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Getty Images
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Egypt announced the release of 30 detainees on Thursday, the latest in a series of mass releases.

The decision was announced by Tarik El Awady, a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee . He said the 30 had been in pre-trial detention, facing charges related to their “opinions”.

There was no immediate word on the identities of the detainees being released.

Mr El Awady posted photographs showing several of the freed people embracing relatives and friends.

Another batch of 30 detainees was released earlier this month.

More than 1,000 pre-trial detainees and dozens of convicted prisoners have been released in batches since the reactivation of the Presidential Pardon Committee in April, Egyptian news outlet Al Ahram reported.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has also pardoned many high-profile political activists who had received final sentences, including Hossam Mones, Yehia Abdel Hady and Hisham Fouad, after announcing plans for a national dialogue in May.

Thousand of dissidents and activists are believed to have been arrested since 2013, when the army removed the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi amid mass protests against his rule. Human Rights Watch estimated in 2019 that as many as 60,000 political prisoners were being held in Egyptian prisons.

The issue came into focus during Egypt’s hosting of the Cop27 climate summit earlier this month, when activists called for the release of environmental and political activists worldwide.

According to Al Ahram, the Presidential Pardon Committee, formed two years after Mr El Sisi took office in 2014, receives suggestions of prisoners to be considered for a presidential pardon from bodies such as the National Council for Human Rights and the parliament’s human rights committee.

Updated: November 25, 2022, 5:31 AM