Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat ordered Monday the release of 120 prisoners under temporary detention pending trial, according to a statement by state-run news agency MENA.
They had been charged with ‘committing crimes during violent incidents that erupted across Egypt’.
Confirming once more the defendants’ right to demand release pending trial even if criminal evidence against them was found, the statement said that the Prosecutor General’s office has been reviewing the status of those imprisoned since November.
On the other hand, no names have been announced as yet, nor the conditions of release.
“120 are little in comparison to the many people who are not supposed to be in prison. But we don’t have conditions or rules for the detention neither,” said rights’ lawyer Taher Abul Nasr.
Abul Nasr said the releases usually include people who were arrested in protests, and that the prosecution has the right to release any defendant in temporary detention before he is referred to court.
Meanwhile, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s recurrent promises of pardons to young detained protesters as long as they have not been involved in violence.
Rights’ lawyer Dalia Zakhary said those ‘pardons’ intentions’ have not come into effect. Usually the Prosecutor General’s decisions are implemented regarding temporary detainees, “even though temporary detention has become equal to prison due to their unlimited period”, she said.
Zakhary added she only believes news about releases when officially released and signed by the prosecutor general. “Other than that, the media publishes a lot of incorrect news attributed to the prosecutor-general, which are sometimes not even within his authority.”