President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may pardon 584 prisoners on January 25 to mark both Police Day and the fourth anniversary of the revolution, the privately owned newspaper Al-Wafd reported on Thursday.
Last week, Sisi announced that he had asked the Ministry of Interior to assemble a list of detainees eligible for a pardon, particularly those who were incarcerated or remanded into custody unjustly or on minor charges.
Mohamed Fathy, a journalist and founder of the Hear Us initiative, wrote on his Facebook account that his group was also working with the president’s office on compiling the list of potential pardons.
Gamal Eid, the head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), told Mada Masr that he doesn’t expect a long list of pardons to be issued, and even if that were to happen, many of those pardoned may never actually be released from prison.
“60 journalists and more than 1,000 political prisoners are currently incarcerated,” Eid pointed out.
“We just need to wait and see,” Eid said, adding that he expects that only children, young women and some journalists will ultimately be pardoned.
Eid said he would hope to see activists such as Alaa Abdel Fattah on that list, but he doesn’t see much likelihood of that happening.
Earlier this month, media outlets also reported on the potential release of two Al Jazeera English employees. The Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Australian correspondent Peter Greste have been serving time on terrorism-related charges since 2013. Sisi’s recently passed decree facilitating the deportation of foreign detainees raised hopes that the men might be allowed to return to their home countries.