President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the release of 100 prisoners on Wednesday, but seven of them are still incarcerated due to bureaucratic glitches.
Several high-profile activists and journalists were among the pardoned, including activists Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif, who were serving time for protesting near the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in June 2014, and Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Shady Abdel Hamid, who were sentenced to three years of maximum security prison last August in the internationally condemned “Al Jazeera English” case.
Ragia Omran, a lawyer and member of the Front for the Defense of Protesters, published a statement on her Facebook page detailing each of the seven cases.
Salwa Mehrez was among the Ettehadiya detainees who was pardoned, but is still waiting behind bars because the president’s decree listed the wrong last name. Qanater Women’s Prison refuses to release her until the president’s office corrects her name, Omran told Mada Masr. She said that there have been several calls to the presidency to correct the error.
Two others implicated in the Ettehadiya case, Nahed Abdel Hamid and Momen Abdel Tawab, are also yet to be released, as they had received prison sentences in other cases.
Abdel Hamid had been sentenced to an extra month in prison, but that should be considered time served, Omran explained.
Mansoura University students Menna Mostafa and Abrar al-Anany weren’t released because an appeal in their case has been scheduled, according to Omran.
“Why should they have to wait for an appeal in a case for which they were pardoned?” she asked. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Mamdouh Gamal Eddin and Mohamed Hossam Eddin, who were serving time for protesting at the Shura Council, remain in Tora Prison due to charges that they were involved in a fight with other inmates (Omran said that both of the men were assaulted by the other prisoners). Prison authorities claim that they cannot be released as they committed a misdemeanor crime — but Omran says the case hasn’t even been sent to court yet.
Lawyers have tried repeatedly to appeal to the Prisons Authority and Tora officials, but to no avail, Omran said. She surmised that at this point, only an “intervention from a higher power,” such as the interior minister or the president himself, would be able to sway the officials.