News ID: 94635
Publish Date : 21 September 2021 - 21:41

Report: Egyptian Prisoners Offered Amnesty in Exchange for PR Appearance

CAIRO (Middle East Eye) – Dozens of prisoners in Egypt have reportedly been offered amnesty in exchange for participating in a scripted conference with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi planned in Tora prison next month, a local independent publication has reported.
According to Mada Masr, three lawyers representing detainees in the Tora, Minya and Wadi al-Natrun prisons had been informed by their clients that officials from Egypt’s National Security Agency had reached out to hundreds of prisoners, offering early release should they agree to speak about incarceration conditions in a favorable light during the conference.
Dozens of prisoners have reportedly been transferred from Minya and Wadi al-Natrun to Tora ahead of the conference planned for early October.
Those allegedly scheduled to receive amnesty reportedly include political prisoners - amid longstanding accusations of a crackdown on political opposition under Sisi.
A government source also told Mada Masr that a number of amnesties were expected around 18 October, which marks Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. A number of prisoners had previously been released this summer ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
The president denied on Wednesday that the country had any political prisoners, adding: “There are no forms of human rights violations in Egypt.”
Sisi said last week that he was poised to launch “a full American-style” prison that will be followed by “seven or eight” other similar projects across the country.
Rights groups have accused his government of jailing some 60,000 activists and political opponents under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Meanwhile, suicide rates are increasingly rapidly in Egypt, according to an Arabi21 report that references the work of a number of human rights organizations.
Between 30 and 35 suicides are now being recorded every month, and this escalation has led to the launch of a campaign looking to combat the issue. Nearly 200 people have reportedly taken their own life in Egypt this year, according to the report.
Human rights organizations indicated that the dire economic and social situation Egyptians currently face has led to the country recording a sharper rise in suicide rates than almost any other in the Arab world.