The President of the Republic Mohamed Morsi has pardoned 572 civilians who had been imprisoned in the military justice system. He has also decided to reduce the jail-terms of 16 prisoners – some of them were reduced from life-in-prison to seven years only.
This was announced – at a news conference at the presidential palace on Thursday evening – by Justice Mahmoud Fawzy, member of the technical secretariat for the committee formed by presidential decree to consider the status of civilian internees sentenced to jail by military justice in the period from January 25, 2011 to the end of the transition and the handover of power on June 30, 2012.
Fawzy stressed that this is only a first step, adding that the message the President wants to deliver is one of tolerance and reconciliation, while maintaining the required balance in the community by not releasing into society dangerous individuals or habitual criminals with long criminal histories.
Justice Fawzy further added that the presidential decree covers only the first group of several that will be released in later stages.
He said that civilian internees sentenced in military courts amounts to a total of 11,874 prisoners, of whom 9,174 have now had their sentences suspended or have been acquitted, so far.
"There remain 2,165 civilians in military jails, before the president’s decision to pardon prisoners. Those are the ones the committee focused its efforts on. We have received the details of judgments and appeals, and also examined all relevant documents.
In this regard, I would like to thank all official bodies and authorities for their cooperation with the committee, including the military judiciary."
For his part, Dr. Yasser Ali, Acting Spokesman for the Presidency, expressed his deep appreciation and thanks for advisers and members of the committee for the great effort they put into the first phase of their work which led to the release of this group of prisoners.
He pointed that there are certain events still under investigation, including the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes and the Cabinet building incidents.