Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned more than 3,000 inmates, including a journalist who was jailed for “spreading false news,” local media and officials said Wednesday.
Hossam Moniss, who is also a prominent leftist organizer, was sentenced to four years in prison in November over the charge.
Moniss was arrested in 2019 along with a number of opposition figures preparing to run for the “Hope Coalition” in 2020 parliamentary elections.
An emergency court convicted Moniss, along with five others including former lawmaker Ziad el-Elaimy -- a prominent figure in Egypt's 2011 revolution who is still in jail -- to between three and five years in prison.
Upon his release from Tora prison, Moniss met with several politicians and activists, including Head of the Karama Party and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, and film director Khaled Youssef.
News of his pardon came just days after 41 political prisoners were ordered released from pre-trial detention, including another Hope Coalition activist, Hassan al-Barbary.
Egyptian political analyst Dr. Amr al-Shobaki said releasing Moniss is “wonderful and joyful” news that gives hope for the imminent release of all prisoners of conscience.
He underlined the clear difference between those who incite violence and vandalism and who have different opinions and political orientations.
Shobaki further referred to the other prisoners of conscience who are still behind bars hoping that their cases would be closed soon.
The interior ministry said in a later statement that 3,273 prisoners convicted in criminal cases had received presidential pardons.
Earlier this week, Sisi tasked the Youth National Conference with coordinating with political parties, movements, and youth groups to hold political dialogue.
He made his remarks during the annual Egyptian Family Iftar banquet in Cairo, which was attended by senior government officials, politicians, partisans, and families of the army and police martyrs.
Notable among the attendees were figures who had been absent from recent formal occasions, including Sabahi and political activist Khaled Dawoud, who was released from detention just months ago.
Sis had last week called for reactivating the Presidential Pardon Committee and expanding its work base in cooperation with the relevant agencies and civil society organizations.