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Egypt frees 620 detainees following presidential pardon

Egyptian prisoners can be seen behind bars [Amr Sayed/Apaimages]
Egyptian prisoners can be seen behind bars [Amr Sayed/Apaimages]

Egypt will release 620 detainees after a presidential pardon was issued today, local news sites have said.

A committee meeting by officials from the prisons’ sector agreed to the release of 264 inmates under the amnesty, while the High Commission for Amnesty also approved the release of 356 prisoners.

The prisoners have taken part in rehabilitation programmes and are ready for release.

This is not the first time Egypt has issued a presidential pardon, releasing hundreds of inmates. In November last year some 578 prisoners were released to commemorate the 6th of October Victory (also known as the Yom Kippur War), which is a national holiday in Egypt.

READ: Egypt activists condemn executions as illegal

Since the 2011 revolution, tens of thousands of Egyptians have been thrown in jail after the country witnessed a dramatic suppression of freedom and an increase in regulatory legislation; action justified by the government as necessary for “national security”. The Muslim Brotherhood party, which played an instrumental role in the revolution and was subsequently elected to power, has since been banned and declared a terrorist group.

The Egyptian government has also launched a crackdown on anyone suspected of opposing President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi or his policies and has implemented laws that affect vocal media organisations, journalists and NGOs.

Last week Egypt came under international criticism after executing nine young men for their alleged involvement in the 2015 assassination of Attorney-General Hisham Barakat.

READ: UN warns Egypt about executions

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