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Egypt's Sisi pardons 502 prisoners including well-known tycoon
June 23, 2017 / 1:52 PM / 5 months ago

Egypt's Sisi pardons 502 prisoners including well-known tycoon

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned 502 prisoners before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, state media said on Friday, including prominent businessman Hesham Talaat Moustafa, according to security sources.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives an address after the gunmen attack in Minya, accompanied by leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Supreme Council for Police (unseen), at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

No list of names was immediately available, but the prisoners to be released include 25 women and “a large number of youth jailed in cases involving protesting and gathering,” state news agency MENA reported, without specifying how many.

Since seizing power in mid-2013 from the Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi has presided over a crackdown on Islamist opponents that has seen hundreds killed and many thousands jailed. Activists and liberal opponents have also been imprisoned.

A law requiring permission from the Interior Ministry for any public gathering of more than 10 people is strictly enforced and has largely succeeded in ending the kind of mass demonstrations that helped unseat two presidents in three years.

Security sources said that among those pardoned was Hesham Talaat Moustafa, the former chairman of one of Egypt’s largest real estate developers, Talaat Mostafa Group.

Moustafa had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim in 2008. He was pardoned on health concerns, the security sources said.

Sisi ordered the interior ministry to implement the decision before the start of the holiday, which immediately follows the holy month of Ramadan that ends this Saturday.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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