Egypt orders the release of 46 detainees during last pardons

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CAIRO — Egyptian authorities on Thursday announced the release of 46 detainees, including a prominent human rights lawyer, the latest to be freed from prison as international attention intensifies.

Tarik el-Awady, a member of Egypt’s presidential clemency committee, has confirmed the release of lawyer Haitham Mohamadein and 45 other detainees, all of whom are awaiting trial. Several photos of the released lawyer alongside his friends and family were later shared by activists on social media. It is still not known whether other detainees have yet to be released.

Egypt has pardoned dozens of detainees in recent months as its human rights record faces international scrutiny ahead of hosting the UN climate change summit in November. The government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – a US ally with deep economic ties to European countries – has relentlessly silenced dissidents and cracked down on independent organizations for years with arrests, detentions, prison sentences jail and other restrictions.

In April, Egypt released more than three dozen detainees before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, usually a time when prisoners are freed through presidential pardons. In June, el-Sisi began a national dialogue with opposition parties and government critics.

However, thousands of political prisoners are estimated by human rights groups to remain in detention in Egypt, many without trial. Egypt is one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world, along with Turkey and China, according to 2021 data produced by the US Committee to Protect Journalists. Last week, authorities charged four journalists from one of the country’s few independent news outlets, Mada Masr, with spreading false news and disturbing public order, the news site said in a statement. .

According to state-run media Al-Ahram, Mohamadein was arrested in May 2019 and charged with crimes related to “spreading false news and joining an illegal group – a reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood”. These are typical charges for detainees and political activists who oppose the government.

Many of the key activists involved in Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising remain behind bars, most of them arrested under a draconian 2013 law that effectively bans all street protests.

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ABC

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