|Egypt pardons all political prisoners detained between January 2011 and June 2012||
On Monday, a decree, published on the president’s official Facebook page, announced the amnesty for “deeds committed with the aim of supporting the revolution and bringing about its objectives in the period January 25, 2011 to June 30, 2012, with the exception of crimes of first-degree murder," AFP reported.
The Egyptians launched the revolution against the pro-Israeli regime in January 2011, which eventually brought an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Mubarak in February 2011.
According to the decree, the amnesty covers prisoners who already have been convicted and those who are still under investigation or are facing trial.
However, the decree did not provide a specific number of the people who have been pardoned by the president.
Human rights groups have said that thousands of people ended up in military courts established by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power in February 2011 after the revolution.
According to the Egyptian campaign group No to Military Trials for Civilians, at least 12,000 civilians have been tried before military courts and more than 5,000 political prisoners are still languishing in the country’s jails.
Many of the political prisoners were arrested during the 18 months military rule.
Mohammed Gadallah, Morsi's legal advisor, said the decree is "one of the revolution's most important victories."
"It shows the revolution is now in power and guides the decision-making," Gadallah told The Associated Press. "This is a legislation that protects the revolutionaries."
However, the wording of the decree is vague and doesn't immediately set anyone free, according to several human rights lawyers. It asks the prosecutor general and the military prosecutor to prepare a list of names, within a month of the decree's issuance, of those who may benefit from the pardon.
The first article of the decree orders a "comprehensive pardon for crimes and misdemeanors or attempts to commit them in support of the revolution and the realization of its goals."
The only suspects exempted from the decree are those charged with premeditated murder over that time period.
"It is a great step, but not enough," said Ahmed Seif, a member of the committee formed by Morsi to review cases of those tried following the uprising. He said he had advised Morsi to specify who would benefit from the pardon.
"Now, there will be differences over how to implement the pardon, and a debate," Seif said.
Gadallah said the decree is likely to cover all major court cases where protesters clashed with military troops and security forces. However, he admitted it is not clear how many would benefit from the pardon.
Another human rights lawyer, Ahmed Ragheb, praised Morsi's decree but said it doesn't include "all the victims of the past period."
Ragheb said Morsi's choice of wording in the decree — "those supporting the revolution" — can be interpreted in different ways.
"No one is facing charges called 'supporting the revolution,'" Ragheb said.
On August 31, more than 5,000 protesters held a demonstration in Cairo to demand the implementation of the goals of the revolution.
They called on the country’s authorities to release prisoners arrested during the revolution.
Morsi, who quit the Muslim Brotherhood to become the president, said on Saturday he had fallen short on his election promises he pledged to fulfill in his first 100 days in office.
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