Egypt’s president pardons 560, including prominent columnist


CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi pardoned 560 prisoners, including a prominent journalist and several women.

The pardons, announced in the official gazette late Thursday, coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when authorities traditionally release detainees as a goodwill gesture.

The journalist, Abdel Halim Qandil, was sentenced to three years in absentia in December 2017 for “insulting the judiciary.” He surrendered in October 2018 as Egypt’s highest appeals court upheld his verdict. He was pardoned for health reasons.

Qandil was tried in a case that included 17 other defendants, among them ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Mursi, on the same charges.

Among those pardoned are eight women who had been sentenced in 2018 to several years in prison on grounds of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization and staging an anti-government protest in the Delta province of Damietta.

Egyptian authorities have not said yet when the prisoners will be released.

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