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Egypt announces freedom, mass pardon for 30 jailed activists


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CAIRO – Egypt announced late Thursday the release of 30 political activists from prison, the latest in a series of mass releases from detention amid an intensifying international situation. monitor the country’s human rights record.

There was no immediate information on the identities of the activists and it was not immediately possible to confirm how many of them have been released.

The announcement came from Tarik el-Awady, a member of the Egyptian presidential pardon committee. He said 30 people had been detained before trial, facing charges related to their “opinions”.

El-Awady later posted photos, describing them as showing some of the released prisoners hugging family members and friends.

Since 2013, the government of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has cracked down on dissidents and critics, jailing thousands, virtually banning protests and monitoring the internet. society. Human Rights Watch estimated in 2019 that up to 60,000 political prisoners are being held in prisons in Egypt, many without trial.

The issue came to the fore as Egypt hosted a two-week world climate summit earlier this month. The conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was partly overshadowed by a hunger strike by the imprisoned Egyptian dissident, Alaa Abdel-Fattah.

As the so-called COP27 summit opened, Abdel-Fattah stepped up his months-long partial hunger strike to completely stop calorie intake and also stop drinking water to draw attention to the case. his and others like him.

Then, as anxiety for his fate increased, he ended his strike. He’s still in prison.

In the months leading up to the summit, Egypt sought to fix its international image, pardoning dozens of prisoners and establishing a new “strategy” to upgrade human rights conditions.

Human rights groups remain skeptical about whether these moves translate into any lasting change, with Amnesty International describing the strategy as a “shiny cover-up”‘ used to broker favors to foreign governments and financial institutions.

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