Ghad al-Thawra leader urges Morsy to pardon military prison detainees

Ghad al-Thawra Party founder Ayman Nour on Monday urged President Mohamed Morsy to hasten the release of detainees in military prisons.

Nour, a longtime activist, called on Morsy to work on freeing the prisoners who had been recommended by a panel he appointed to review the statuses of people detained during incidents of violence since that breakout of last year’s uprising.

“You were once a prisoner yourself, and you know well what an extra day means for an aggrieved person in prison,” Nour said in a post on Twitter, addressing Morsy.

He asked Morsy to issue a general pardon before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts Friday, for thousands of poverty-stricken prisoners, and to drop debts for the poor.

A report by Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged Morsy to end military trials of civilians. It said that 2,165 civilians remain imprisoned after military trials that have taken place since 28 January last year.

Military courts in 2011 tried more than 12,000 civilians and convicted at least 9,000, including hundreds of political activists, though most cases related to ordinary criminal activity, the rights group said.

“Military prosecutors have interrogated and detained at least 54 children from March 2011 to date, and have sentenced children with up to 15 years,” the organization said.

Some activists have called for organizing a collective iftar, the evening meal for Muslims to break their fast, on the fifth day of Ramadan in front of prisons to show solidarity with detainees.

A movement called “I am the Egyptian” has urged people to organize the iftar in front of Al-Hadra and Al-Ghorbaniat prisons in Alexandria, as well as Tora prison in Cairo.

The group said that such an event would call on authorities to release those detainees who were kept in prisons for unfair reasons.

Mohamed Fiad, the general coordinator of “I am the Egyptian,” told privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk that within a few days, Ramadan would start and none of the prisoners have been released.

“We thought that the best thing to do is to provide support for them by organizing an iftar in front of all prisons,” Fiad said.

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