President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree Wednesday pardoning 165 people sentenced in cases related to breaching the protest law and other misdemeanours.
Most of the names in the list the presidency released are students and minors who were sentenced and convicted for illegal protesting, possessing weapons, or belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Three of the pardoned include Sohaib Essam, Abdullah Metwali and Youssef Gharib, who were convicted for possessing Molotov cocktails and sound bombs in Hadayeq Al-Qubba. The three were initially sentenced to five years imprisonment before the sentence was decreased to two years in April. In the investigations, the three confessed to belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Further, Alaa Shokr and Amer El-Wakeel were pardoned after being sentenced in November to two years in prison for illegal protesting and joining a “terrorist organisation”.
More than fifteen of the names received jail time sentences stemming from violent incidents in Rod El-Farag, following the bloody dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares sit-ins in August 2013.
Also pardoned by Al-Sisi on Wednesday are those convicted in the Al-Azhar University protests, in which Morad Abdelhameed was sentenced to three years in prison for rioting and illegal protesting.
President Al-Sisi has had promised a number of times to release Egyptian youth from prisons. The latest of the promises was in January, prior to the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, in which he issued a decision to pardon some prisoners on the revolution’s fourth anniversary.
He also said at the time: “We will go with a procedure that includes all journalists and imprisoned, and we will take a decision that calms down the situation in Egypt and indicates that the youth are not targeted.”
Amidst the security crackdown on the protests that marked the anniversary, the promise failed to materialise.
In March, state media reported that a list of 120 names of imprisoned youth was to be released, and included secular activists and human rights defenders including Sanaa Seif and Yara Sallam. However, this was later denied by the General Prosecution.
The 165 pardoned do not include imprisoned women, high profile activists or journalists.