Egypt’s new president Mohammed Mursi, issued a decree on Monday pardoning all those arrested in support of the revolution since the beginning of the popular unrest leading to Hosni Mubarak, stepping down power.
The inclusive pardon announced by the new president applies to anybody who was allege with or found guilty of crimes and crime or who was attempting to commit them in support of the revolution and its realisation. The pardon applies to all those arrested from the first day of the revolution on 25 January 2011, until 30 June 2012, when Mr Mursi took over power from Hosni Mubarak. It also include all those who are awaiting trial as well those already serving jail sentences but those accused of murder will be excepted.
Most of those on trial or convicted were detained during the rule of the generals who took over after Mubarak have been stepped down in February 2011.The decree will however lead to the release of several thousand of people following the 18 days of unrest of February last year during which hundreds of protesters died and Mubarak step down.
Nevertheless, according to the human rights lawyers’ the decree phraseology was unclear and did not set anyone free immediately. The first article of the decree, which was published on Morsi’s official Facebook page, orders a “comprehensive pardon for crimes and misdemeanours or attempts to commit them in support of the revolution and the realisation of its goals”.
The decree says that the names of those to be pardoned must be published first by the attorney-general and the military prosecutor within a month. It will be up to the prosecutor general and the military prosecutor to name those who will be pardoned.
Suspects who are excluded can challenge the decision, and a judicial panel would be the final arbiter. Ahmed Seif, a member of the committee formed by Mr Mursi says “It is a great step, but not enough to review cases of those put on trial. “There will be differences over how to implement the pardon. More than a 12 000 civilians have been brought before military tribunals with many of them on charges such as “thuggery”.
The Protesters currently on trial face charges ranging from resisting authorities, damaging public or private property or disrupting public order. A month after becoming president, Morsi pardoned more than 500 civilians convicted before military tribunals. But rights groups have criticized Morsi, and the military generals who ruled before him, for failing to bring to trial most of the policemen, army troops and officers suspected of using excessive force or torture against protesters. Abdel-Aziz a lawyer involved in many of the protesters’ cases said the decree is likely meant to ease political pressure on Morsi some few days ahead of a protest rally against the president planned for Friday.