<p> </p>Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said that the 572 military detainees pardoned by President Mohamed Morsy on Thursday included 25 leaders of Islamic Jihad and Jama'a al-Islamiya.
He said the decree did not pardon those involved in cases dating back to 1994 that involve the activities of militants who fought the government of ousted President Hosni Mubarak in an insurgency in the early 1990s.
It also excluded the defendents in the so-called Zeitoun Trial, who were accused of membership in an unspecified terrorist organization that staged the armed robbery of a jewelry shop in May 2008 in Cairo’s Zeitoun district, and planned to attack Suez Canal, he said.
Cases that the judiciary is still considering, such as those of Mostafa Hamza, Refaee Taha and Shawky al-Islamboly, were not included either, Zawahiri said.
Morsy had announced that, to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, he was pardoning 572 military prisoners who were detained in connection with the 25 January revolution or protests during the transitional period.
The decision included some Jama'a al-Islamiya and Jihad leaders who had been sentenced to death, including Hassan Khalifa, Ahmed Abdel Kader, Shaaban Howaidy and Gharib al-Shahat. Pardoned prisoners Saber Salama and Shawky Salama had been sentenced to 25 years in jail.
Zawahiri called on Morsy to issue another decision to pardon 15 more political prisoners.
"When the president took the decision to pardon those prisoners, he was aware that they were victims of the former regime, convicted by military courts, and got unfair sentences in trials in which only State Security Investigations Service officers were witnesses," he said.
Morsy should meet his promise to support the oppressed by not only releasing military detainees but by honoring them at the highest level, because they were the real victims of the former regime, and the first to stand against Mubarak and his aides, Zawahiri said.
Ahmed Abdel Kader, a detainee at Al-Aqrab Prison who has been sentenced to death, said, "We have not received a final response about whether we will be released and the prison administration did not receive information confirming that."
"The prison service obfuscates the pardon decision, so we do not know whether the pardon includes political prisoners or not," Abdel Kader added.
Jama'a al-Islamiya engaged in armed confrontations with security forces in the 1990s, aiming to depose the Mubarak regime and establish an Islamic state. In the late 1990s it renounced its violent, jihadist ideology, and apologized for its attacks that had killed hundreds. Its members were targeted by the intelligence services, but since the 25 January uprising many have been released from prison and it now has a political arm, the Construction and Development Party.
Islamic Jihad, which was led in the 1990s by Ayman al-Zawahiri, also renounced violence some years ago.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm