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Egypt pardons hundreds jailed for demonstrating

AP  |  Cairo 

Egypt's Abdel-Fattah el-today pardoned more than 330 young people, most of whom had been convicted and jailed for their participation in illegal protests.

Egypt's has the authority to pardon those who have been convicted and cannot appeal their sentences. Authorities in Muslim countries traditionally release prisoners on the eve of the fasting month of as a show of mercy. begins on Thursday this year.

In televised remarks, el-said he ordered that all the procedures be completed so the prisoners can "eat sohour at their homes," referring to the pre-dawn meal before the daily sunup-to-sundown fast.

Officials say a total of 332 prisoners will be released, including pro-democracy activists who were found in violation of a 2013 law that prohibits unauthorized protests.

Secular activists of the unofficial leftist Bread and Freedom Party, and Islam Fouad of the opposition Dostour (Constitution) party were among those pardoned, the officials said. Islam Marei, of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, is also on the list, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since el-led the military overthrow of in 2013 amid mass protests against his yearlong rule. Thousands of people have been jailed, including several prominent secular activists who defied the protest ban.

Those measures have virtually eliminated street activism in Egypt, where mass protests in 2011 ended President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule. The government has also cracked down on online organizing by blocking hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and rights groups.

The government has defended such measures, saying it is trying to restore stability, revive the economy and defeat an Islamic State-led insurgency based in the Peninsula.

Also on Wednesday, an added the names of 241 suspected Islamic militants to the country's terrorism watch list for five years. The designation bars them from travel and grants authorities the right to freeze their assets.

The said they are part of a group of 555 terror suspects who face military trial on charges of joining a local affiliate of the Islamic State group. The charges include killing and plotting to kill security personnel, attacking military checkpoints in northern and sabotaging a between and

Only 216 of the 555 suspects are in custody, according to authorities. An IS affiliate based in northern has carried out attacks across in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and the country's Christian minority.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 20:50 IST
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