Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has approved a law allowing for the “transfer” of foreign defendants and detainees to their home countries to be tried, the state information services said on Thursday.
The transfer requires a request from of the prosecutor general and the approval by the cabinet.
Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef stated that this decision came in the context of “raising the interests of the nation (and) maintaing Egypt’s international image.” He added that this decision coincides with the “rights-based” foundation of the Egyptian legal system.
The law could possibly lead to the release of dozens of foreigners arrested over the past year in Egypt, including Syrian refugees.
Many Syrian refugees fear deportation after arrest as they remain in exile from their conflict-torn country.
The Australian Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste may be one of the foreigners to be released through this decree.
Greste has been detained along with two Al Jazeera English journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, since 29 December 2013. The three journalists were sentenced to seven to ten year prison sentences on terror-related charges in June 2014.
There have been over 184 reported cases of violations against foreign journalists over the past three years, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression.