Prisoners released per presidential pardon on first day of Eid al-Fitr on June 15, 2018 - Hazim Abdel Samad
CAIRO – 19 September 2018: A total of 716 inmates were released September 18 per August presidential pardon on the occasion of Eid El-Adha. The decision to release the prisoners on the occasion of Eid El-Adha was published earlier in the Gazette.
Regarding presidential pardons, they are customary to national and religious occasions. According to article 155 of the constitution, the president is allowed to issue pardons only after a final ruling is issued.
However, the perpetrators of certain crimes are not eligible for pardon. These crimes comprise arms trafficking, terrorism, drug trafficking of more than 10 kilograms, “heroin” trade regardless of the quantity, and revenge killing.
Previously, a total of 2,110 prisoners were released on June 15 per a presidential pardon, while 677 others were out on conditional release, marking the first day of Eid El-Fitr (a religious feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan).
The batch of released prisoners included also 690 debtors, as part of a presidential initiative called “Prisons without Debtors” aiming to release all debtors landing behind bars by paying off their debts.
In May, the Interior Ministry's prison department pardoned 447 prisoners on the occasion of Sinai Liberation Day.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the prison department also found that 473 inmates are qualified for release on parole. The Egyptian government frequently pardons prisoners during national celebrations.
Also in May, President Sisi pardoned About 332 prisoners. The pardon list included youths and prisoners with health problems.
In October 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced the formation of a presidential pardon committee, headed by political thinker, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, for pardoning detainees with charges pending further investigation.
In November 2016, Sisi declared the first presidential pardon list, pardoning 82 detainees, including TV presenter and religious thinker Islam al-Behery, who was charged with “contempt of Islam.”
A second pardon list was declared in March 2017, pardoning 203 detainees. The list included five journalists, according to Masrawy news outlet. In June 2017, Sisi announced pardoning 502 detainees.
On the anniversary of October 6 War, 244 Egyptian prisoners regained their freedom after receiving a pardon by a presidential decree.