TV host Islam Behery was among 82 detainees who won a recent presidential pardon. The pardon is based on article 155 of the Egyptian Constitution that gives the President the right to pardon prisoners who were handed final sentences.
National Council for Human Rights member Mohamed Abdel-Aziz said a committee tasked with reviewing the cases of youth detained for non-violent “politically related crimes” has presented the president with a list of names for which presidential pardon is required. The names included 83 who had received final sentences following convictions of illegal protesting or in cases concerning freedom of expression. Mr Behery was among these names.
Mr Behery, a researcher on Islamic theology who hosted a TV show that discussed religious texts, was serving a one-year prison term handed to him in March after he was convicted of contempt of religion and “defaming religious symbols”. Behery is known for questioning the credibility of some of the sources of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, a prime source of Islamic jurisprudence.
During a youth conference late last month, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi had hinted at possible pardons for youth imprisoned without conviction and said a committee would be formed to review the cases of young people held in pre-trial detention. The presidency later announced the committee would expand its scope to include prisoners who had received final verdicts in crimes involving protest, publishing and freedom of expression.
20 November 2016