A group of eight human rights organisations in Egypt has called for the release of all pretrial detainees held for six months without the prosecution having sufficient evidence to refer them to trial.
The organisations, which include Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Egyptian Front for Human Rights and Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, made the call as part of a proposed criteria and controls for the release of all political prisoners in Egypt.
Other members of the group are Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Al Nadeem Centre Against Violence and Torture, Foundation for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Freedom Initiative and Commitment for Justice.
They also called for the release of all persons imprisoned in publishing cases.
‘Opening the file of political prisoners is a necessary and urgent step that was long overdue until Egypt became one of the first countries in the world in terms of the huge number of prisoners imprisoned on political charges’, the group said in the proposal.
‘The ultimate goal of any operation dealing with this file must be the release of all those imprisoned on political charges, so that not a single political prisoner remains in Egypt’.
They said political prisoners themselves must be given the opportunity from inside prisons to submit requests for their files to be reviewed and released.
The rights group also called for the pardoning of the rest of the sentence for those who were previously sentenced on political charges and have spent more than half of the sentence and were deprived of their right to conditional release without justification other than the nature of their charges.
Egypt ranked 136 out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index for 2021, with abysmally low scores in regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice factors.
Freedom House also ranked the Maghreb nation as ‘not free’ in its 2022 Freedom in the World report on political rights and civil liberties, with the North African country earning 18 points out of a possible 100.
Photo source: CIHRS