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Egypt revokes 52 Morsi-era pardons

30 May 2014, 18:52

Cairo - Egypt's interim president has revoked amnesties for 52 people pardoned by ousted president Mohammed Morsi, state media reported, including Islamists affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, pardoned a number of Islamists during his one-year rule, many of whom had been imprisoned since the 1990s.

He was overthrown in July last year by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following mass protests against his rule. Sisi was elected president by a landslide this week, according to preliminary results.

Since Morsi's fall, the Egyptian government has cracked down hard on the Brotherhood, which was the country's dominant force in elections after the 2011 uprising that brought down autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Security forces shot dead hundreds of Brotherhood supporters during protests last summer, authorities have imprisoned most of the group's leadership, and the movement's head, Mohamed Badie, has been sentenced to death along with hundreds of others. Morsi is also on trial.

The state news agency MENA said the amnesties cancelled by interim President Adly Mansour had been granted in 2012 and 2013.

Security sources said those whose amnesties were cancelled included a Saudi Arabian preacher and several figures affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood's international movement. Saudi Arabia has also banned the Brotherhood and assisted Egypt with billions of dollars worth of aid since Morsi's overthrow.

The MENA report did not specify whose pardons were cancelled but said that some were "implicated in crimes of killing and terrorising innocent citizens".

The cancellation came after the original pardons "sparked social controversy," MENA said, including "doubt as to their intended purposes".

The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted this week's election, as did many secular democracy activists disillusioned by the crackdown. Sisi won with over 90% of the vote, according to state media quoting judicial and campaign sources.

Low turnout for the vote, however, raised questions over whether Sisi would have the strong national mandate he needs to fix the economy and face down an armed Islamist insurgency that has gathered pace over the last year.

- Reuters


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