Wed 21 July 2021:
The Egyptian authorities have released 2,075 prisoners on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, a grand Muslim holiday, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said on Tuesday..
Al-Sisi issued a pardon for 2,075 prisoners to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday that commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son at God’s command before the last-minute divine substitute of a ram.
It also coincides with the imminent 69th anniversary of the July 23, 1952 Revolution that ended the monarchy rule in modern Egypt and marked its transformation into a republic.
The July 23 Revolution is a military movement led by Egyptian army officers against the monarchy on July 23, 1952.
No details on the conditions of the amnesty decision were shared.
According to the Constitution, the president has the right, after conferring with his Council of Ministers, to pardon convicted individuals or commute their sentences.
Abuse and torture in Egyptian prisons
DC-based NGO Human Rights First (HRF) released a report that how Abuse in Egypt’s Prison System Fuels ISIS Recruitment – released on Thursday draws on testimonies from prisoners released between 2019 and 2021, who said ISIL continues to recruit prisoners, a practice partly fuelled by torture and abuse that is widespread in Egyptian prisons.
Since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power following a 2013 military coup, thousands of people have been imprisoned for their political opposition, including doctors who criticised the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and TikTok influencers, while death sentences have risen three-fold.
El-Sisi has long claimed there are “no political prisoners in Egypt”.
But rights groups estimated 60,000 political prisoners are being held in Egyptian jails, more than half of the country’s estimated prison population of 114,000.
With an official prison capacity of 55,000, jails are severely overcrowded and, according to Amnesty International, the average space available to each inmate is 1.1sq metres (12sq feet).
Reports of abuse and torture in Egypt has done little to change el-Sisi’s reception on the world stage.
President Emmanuel Macron presented his Egyptian counterpart with France’s highest honour, the Legion d’honneur, during el-Sisi’s visit to Paris last December.
The UK has licensed at least 218 million pounds ($300) in arms to Egypt since the uprising in 2011, according to the British arms-tracking group Campaign Against the Arms Trade.
In February, the US State Department confirmed a $197 arms deal with Cairo, following what Dooley called “a disappointing pattern of business as usual”.
For the past decade, the US has conditioned about $300m of an annual $1.3bn in economic and military aid on human rights reforms in Egypt.
The Obama and Trump administrations released the funds despite criticism from human rights organisations about a lack of improvement in human rights.
A decision on whether the US will hand Egypt the conditioned $300m is expected to be taken in August.
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