President El-Sissi Decree Could Free Journalist

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday issued a new law that allows him to deport people, who are non-Egyptians and convicted of crimes, back to their countries of origin.

This move could pave the way for the release of one or more of the three journalists working for Al Jazeera who have been in prison for nearly a year.

Peter Greste, one of the journalists, is a citizen of Australia. Mohamed Fahmy is another who has both Canadian and Egyptian citizenship. The third, Baher Mohamed is a citizen of Egypt.

All three were found guilty this past June of conspiring with members of Muslim Brotherhood to air false news. The three were sentenced to between 7 and 10 years following a trial that advocates for human rights called a farce.

The case drew condemnation from the international community and has been an embarrassment to the government of Egypt.

It has focused attention on the plight of hundreds of others swept up by authorities as a wide spread crackdown on opponents took place shortly after the military ousted the former president in July of last year.

El-Sissi had said repeatedly he would have preferred that the three had been deported instead of standing trial, which led to speculation that the Wednesday decree was intended for the same purpose.

The new measure, one of many El-Sissi has issued while there is no Parliament, appeared to show that any release would come after the final disposition of the case, including exhausting all appeals.

A spokesperson for el-Sissi was not available for comment following the announcement.

The new law required that the cabinet give approval of transfers overseas of people who are convicted, but text in the decree, carried in newspapers, did not mention whether dual citizens such as one of the journalists were eligible to be released.

The family of Fahmy said he was not interested in being deported. He is innocent they said and is loyal to Egypt, said Marwa Omara his fiancée.

In another separate case, it was unknown if the new law would end Mohamed Soltan’s trial. He is a dual Egyptian-American citizen. He is currently on trial and on a hunger strike.

Leave a Reply

© 2006-2016 Mideast Time.