Official at Karama Party: Release of pre-trial detainees ‘a good sign’ to resume national dialogue



Sat, 07 May 2022 - 01:12 GMT


Sat, 07 May 2022 - 01:12 GMT

Mohamed Sami, the honorary head of the Karama Party

Mohamed Sami, the honorary head of the Karama Party

CAIRO – 7 May 2022: On April 28th, the annual event of the “Egyptian Family Iftar” was held, where President Sisi launched a number of historic decisions, including a direction to the National Conference management to conduct a political dialogue on the priorities of national actions during the current stage.


President Sisi also reactivated the ‘Presidential Pardon Committee’ which was formed as one of the outcomes of the National Youth conference, as it will expand its cooperation with the competent agencies and civil society.


During his speech, Sisi expressed his happiness at the release of new batches of Egyptians recently, and stressed that the country accommodates everyone.


According to the instructions, the committee should expand its base of work, in cooperation with the relevant agencies and civil society organizations concerned, and this was at the presence of leaders, including: Hamdeen Sabahi, Muhammad Sami and Khaled Daoud.


Subsequently, Hossam Mo’nes, the former spokesman for the Popular Movement, was released.


Egypt Today had an interview with Mohamed Sami, the honorary head of the Karama Party, about the details of their participation in the Iftar and their expectations for the next stage.


Below is the interview:


Tell us about your invitation to participate in the Egyptian family Iftar?


We received the invitation 48 hours before the celebration, and it was directed to the leaders of the Karama Party and the Civil Movement, and I, Hamdeen Sabahi, Amr Helmy, Kamal Abu Aita and Khaled Daoud accepted the invitation and attended the event, aiming to discuss the prisoners of conscience.


There was a good gesture at the beginning by the release of 41 pretrial detainees per a decision of the Attorney General. That was a good sign for us to moving thing forward, and it represents a positive step launched by President Sisi in the interest of the state to improve the political realm.


How did Hamdeen Sabahi see that participation, and is this the first time to be invited?


Hamdeen had not objections to participate; on the contrary, he accepted the attendance, and saw that it imposes part of the responsibility on him to move in order to release the imprisoned youths.


It is our first time to be invited to the annual event, which was an unexpected surprise, and opportunities for dialogue that were not available before.


Did you have any discussions with officials, and what did you touch on?


Our main goal was the release of the prisoners, which we emphasized in any conversations that took place during the Iftar. And during a meeting on the sidelines of the event, it was agreed that  Kamal Abu Aita, a member of the current presidential pardon committee, would present a list of the names of those imprisoned.


Hossam Mo’nes was released by the presidential pardon committee, and we are waiting for Ziyad Al-Alimi and Yahya Hussein, to be released too, especially since they are in the same case.


In your opinion, what are the requirements of the current stage to enter into a national dialogue?


There is still absence of a high-ranking political official tasked with holding a dialogue with parties and political forces, so that partisan forces can communicate their opinion through it to the decision maker.

This is a necessity during the coming period, along with guarantees that confirm the preparation of the current climate for the return of partisan activity and the opposition movements to exist in the arena effectively.

We did not insist on withdrawing from the scene during the last period, but we were exposed to what made our work difficult.


What are your demands to resume the national dialogue?


Our vision to participate in the dialogue had to be preceded by positive indicators that help create a state of satisfaction for us, and this happened when a number of prisoners, including Hossam Mo’nes were released.  the beginning of the release of prisoners until the release of Hossam Mounis.

The release of all prisoners of conscience is the base to our resumption of the national dialogue in addition to the re-formation of the presidential pardon committee.


You were criticized after participating in the Iftar?
We expected to be criticized for our participation in the Iftar. Rather, it strengthens us in front of the decision maker that we have borne the criticism directed, and despite that, we participated out of our keenness to release the prisoners.
But how can we describe this requirement?
We are now in the stage of recovery with the regime, and what is happening is a political agreement through dialogue. We are keen to make it work to ease the state of tension in the channels of dealing between political forces and the decision maker. 
How did you describe the Iftar invitation?
A positive step that we must deal with responsibly. The opposition is not an expression of antagonism with the regime. Rather, it is one of the windows through which the decision-maker sees the reality in order to make his decisions up on it.
The state went through difficult times of construction and confronting terrorism. Some thought you overlooked some of these achievements?
There are achievements that cannot be overlooked, but there are also abuses..and they are not a justification for overlooking some matters that must be corrected and changed. Otherwise, our role here would not be the opposition, including respecting freedoms.
How do you see the difference in the current regime? And what the state went through during the era of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi?
There is no comparison between the Brotherhood regime that would have wanted to control the state for the next 500 years, and it was a “nightmare” for everyone. We appreciate this current safety, which was absent during the Brotherhood period.
How do you see the future of the opposition after this Iftar, and is it expected to return to the scene?
This is based on the authority being willing to open its arms in dealing with the opposition forces seriously and in a manner that does not involve risks or restrictions on political life.. I believe that changing the state of silence that the party has gone through requires addressing the state of restrictions that makes the citizen stay away from the parties.



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