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Home / Press Release / Egypt Reportedly Pardons Political Prisoners Including Human Rights Defender Yara Sallam
September 23, 2015

Egypt Reportedly Pardons Political Prisoners Including Human Rights Defender Yara Sallam

Washington, D.C. – Following news reports that Egypt has pardoned around 100 political prisoners including prominent human rights lawyer Yara Sallam, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:

“Releasing human rights activists and other prisoners in Egypt is long overdue, and is a rare glimmer of good news in widespread repression. The move suggests that Egypt isn't impervious to international pressure, and the United States and other governments should welcome the move but continue to press for further releases and reforms to overcome Egypt's political crisis.

“Many of the prisoners reportedly being released, including Yara Sallam, were targeted by the Egyptian government for speaking out against the country’s dangerous crackdown on civil society. They should never have been arrested in the first place.”

Sallam was arrested in June of 2014 along with 22 other activists following a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of Egypt's anti-protest law (Law No. 107) and the release of those detained under the law. Egypt’s restrictive anti-protest law is often used by authorities to imprison human rights defenders. The handling of this case has drawn international criticism, and Human Rights First has advocated for the release of Sallam and all who were imprisoned along with her.

Human Rights First continues to urge the United States to reshape its side of the bilateral relationship with Egypt to promote a path toward stability and a human rights respecting democracy in Egypt. The organization also urges the United States to enhance its support for independent civil society organizations, especially those seeking to promote and defend human rights and to hold the government to account.

For more information, or to speak with Dooley, contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis [email protected] or 212-845-5269.