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165 inmates pardoned ahead of Ramadan

165 inmates pardoned ahead of Ramadan

Mfonobong Akpan

Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi, on Wednesday, in a symbolic gesture that coincides with start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, pardoned 165 young Egyptian prisoners.

An official report from Cairo said the 165 pardoned also include people convicted of committing unspecified offences and some for violating a disputed protest law.

The report said the list of the pardoned does not include detained prominent pro-democracy campaigners. Several activists, who mobilised the uprising against longtime autocrat Hosny Mubarak in 2011, have in recent months been handed varying jail terms for staging unauthorised protests.

A 2013 law requires organisers of street rallies to give a three-day notice to police before holding demonstrations. It grants law enforcement agents the power to ban any rally deemed a threat to public safety. Critics said the law was aimed at muzzling political dissent and have since demanded it be scrapped.

Authorities argue that the law was necessary to curb violent protests, such as those that hit Egypt after the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.