Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya condemned on Saturday Interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to revoke 52 presidential pardons granted by former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to imprisoned convicts.
Mansour, whose office ends with the inauguration of the winner of last week’s presidential elections, cancelled his predecessor’s pardons on Thursday in response to an explanatory memorandum submitted by the cabinet, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya described the revocation as a “continuation [of] the policy of oppressing political opponents,” adding that the decision is a “blatant violation of the laws and constitution”. The Islamist group, which said that 12 of its members were affected by the revocation, stated that it will take legal action to “preserve its members’ rights,” adding that it will “continue its peaceful opposition”.
In its memorandum, the cabinet had called for cancelling Morsi’s pardons, describing them as “baseless” and adding that they go against the “popular will”.
During a press conference on 12 May, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said that the president would cancel pardons given to some convicted inmates over the past three years, complying with a report the ministry released, which implicated a number of them in recent acts of violence.
The convicts whose pardons have been revoked have been accused of “killing and terrorising innocent citizens,” Al-Ahram reported.
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya denied that any of those whose presidential pardons have been revoked represent a threat to security.
Mansour’s decision gave four pardoned convicts a life-in-prison sentence instead of the death sentence they had initially been served, Al-Ahram reported. Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya named one of the aforementioned, Hassan Al-Khalifa, who it claimed suffers from paralysis.
Among those whose pardon has been revoked is radical preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, who was pardoned in July 2012. Ghoneim, who is currently residing outside of Egypt, was banned from entering several Western countries including the United States and the United Kingdom for “stirring up hatred”.
Presidential pardons are a routine procedure usually issued ahead of national holidays and occasions. They usually exclude prisoners charged with crimes or misdemeanours that pose “internal or external threats to state security”. Perpetrators of crimes related to bribery, forgery, drug trade, illicit gains, money laundering, explosives, stalling transportation or vandalising public institutions are also excluded.
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya was involved in a number of terrorist operations during the 1990s. Its leaders renounced violence in 2003.