CAIRO: Rights groups started compiling a list of political and criminal detainees who should be released under the amendments to the emergency law.
The amendments to the law limit its implementation to terrorism and drug related crimes.
According to the interpretations and the statements by governmental officials including Fathi Sorour, People’s Assembly speaker, these amendments mean that all political and criminal detainees will be released when the amendments are implemented in June.
Hafez Abu Saeda, secretary-general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told Daily News Egypt that his organization started to make a list of the names of the detainees who were arrested under the emergency law, and are entitled to be released according to the new amendments.
“We are referring to the information available in the organizations’ reports, which includes the names of hundreds of detainees," he said.
“The detainees’ families sent us complaints and gave us detailed information about them over the past years," Abu Saeda added.
While he said it was difficult to determine the exact number of detainees who are eligible for release according to the new amendments, he said that they are thousands.
“Releasing those detainees is a real test that will prove the state’s credibility in implementing the amendments on the emergency law," he added.
The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Gamal Eid, told Daily News Egypt "We are in discussions with a number of organizations to form a united front to survey these detainees and … work starting the beginning of June after the amendments to the law are implemented."
“The researchers and lawyers will receive necessary information and documents from the detainees’ families to make sure they’re not convicted of any terrorism or drug related crimes," he added.
Eid estimated the number of detainees to be around 3,000 including political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, criminal prisoners and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Eid said that the real problem with the Ministry of Interior which doesn’t know the real number of these detainees because of the rise in the number of arrests over the past years, and because of the phenomenon of "repeated arrests."
“Arrest warrants are in the possession of officers in subsidiary offices of the State Security Intelligence in different governorates, the ministry doesn’t have any information about these detainees," he said.
“We are waiting for the government to fulfill its promise and release all the citizens who were arrested without any conviction or trial. Hundreds of them have received final court verdicts ordering their release over the past years, but they are still detained under the emergency law," Eid said.