Egypt’s Ministry of Interior will release 837 prisoners across the country after pardons were issued, a statement by the Prisons Authority has revealed.
Specialised committees have studied prisoners’ files across the country to determine those who are eligible for pardoning, it explained. Some 168 have already been released as a result. A further 669 prisoners were released on parole.
While Egyptian authorities have not released comprehensive figures on the number of prisoners in the country’s detention facilities, overall numbers are expected to have increased over the past six years as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has cracked down on dissent.
Human Rights Watch estimates that there are currently 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, many being held without charge or on trumped up charges which accuse them of links to terrorist groups. It is unclear whether any political prisoners have been released as part of the pardons.
Activists and families of prisoners have expressed increased concern about overcrowding in the country’s jails amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.