Despite Pardon, Some Remain Inside Egypt’s Prisons

Despite Pardon, Some Remain Inside Egypt’s Prisons

Policemen and people walk in front of the main gate of Tora prison in Cairo. PHOTO: Reuters
Policemen and people walk in front of the main gate of Tora prison in Cairo. PHOTO: Reuters

A presidential pardon granted to 100 people on Wednesday has seen the release from prison of many high profile activists, but by Saturday some were still behind bars despite being included in the pardon.

A misspelling of her name has kept Salwa Mehrez locked up until today. Mehrez, who studied engineering, was arrested in June 2014 among others who were protesting against the protest law.

She was tried and convicted for violating the same draconian law she was protesting against.

Mehrez’s mother reportedly said that her daughter is a “humanitarian” worker who is neither with nor against any party.

Mehrez is known for her active role in providing assistance to injured protesters in the past.

Prominent activist Sanaa Seif, who was convicted in the same case as Mehrez, expressed her frustration on Facebook after her release: “We left her alone in the ward,” she lamented, referring to Mehrez.

But Mehrez is not the only one who remains in prison despite being pardoned. Freedom for the Brave, an initiative that advocates for the release of detainees named at least eight others who remain in detention, citing lawyers who are following up on the cases.

The pardons have re-ignited calls to release others who have been “unjustly” imprisoned.

A statement issued on Saturday and co-signed by 14 organisations inducing Nazra for Feminist Studies welcomed the release of women human rights defenders, calling for Mehrez’s release as well as that of human rights defender and lawyer Mahienour El-Masry, who was not included in the pardon.

On Friday, Freedom for the Brave said “thousands are spending Eid inside prison. Freedom is a right to all.”

The presidential pardons were issued a day ahead of the Islamic Eid holiday and one day before Sisi arrived in New York to attend the 70th UN General Assembly meeting.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy.

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