Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma, a prominent leader in the 2011 uprising, has been granted a presidential pardon, lawyers said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has pardoned a number of prisoners, state television and lawyers said, including prominent Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma.
Duma, 37, a prominent leader in the pro-democracy revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2019 on charges of rioting and attacking security forces, commuting the previous sentence of 25 years in prison in 2015.
Lawyer Tariq al-Awadi, a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee, said that “President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi…has used his constitutional powers” by pardoning several prisoners, including Duma.
Meanwhile, prominent human rights lawyer Khaled Ali said on social media on Saturday that he was waiting outside Badr Prison on the outskirts of Cairo for the activist’s release.
While pronouncing the verdict at the time, the judge said Duma was part of a mob that stormed Parliament and damaged part of it, calling them the work of “the devil”.
Like many other high-profile activists in Egypt, Douma was imprisoned under Mubarak, the subsequent ruling military council, and former presidents Mohamed Morsi and Sisi.
In 2021, the activist published a collection of poems entitled “Curly”, which he wrote while he was in solitary confinement.
The collection was shown at the Cairo International Book Fair that year, but was soon withdrawn for “security reasons”.
Dumas wrote in one of his poems from prison: “There is no time for depression, no opportunity for grief, the flood is raging.”
He was caught up in a crackdown after the military overthrow of Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
Last month, the authorities also released Egyptian human rights researcher Patrick Zaki and lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer after Sisi pardoned them.
Sisi, the former army chief who led Morsi’s ouster, is accused of leading a relentless crackdown on pro-democracy activists and Islamists.
Since late 2021, Egypt has taken some steps it says are aimed at addressing human rights, including amnesty for some high-profile prisoners, but critics have dismissed these steps as a formality, and say the arrests have continued.
Since April last year, the authorities have released 1,000 political prisoners with great fanfare, but have imprisoned nearly 3,000 more, according to Egyptian human rights monitors.
Egypt’s most prominent activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, and several others arrested over the decade against the opposition remain in prison.
The authorities said the arrests were made for security reasons.
The pardon also comes months before Egypt’s presidential elections scheduled for 2024.
Although no candidates have been officially announced, the incumbent is widely expected to sit out in the upcoming election.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”