Egypt's Mursi pardons political prisoners

CAIRO Mon Oct 8, 2012 4:55pm EDT

1 of 3. Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi smiles during a meeting with South Korea's presidential envoy and former Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan (not in picture) at the presidential palace in Cairo October 8, 2012, a day after Mursi's 'Al Nhada (Renaissance) project.

Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi pardoned on Monday all political prisoners detained since the start of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year.

The pardon covers citizens facing trial and those serving jail sentences except for those convicted of murder, the presidential spokesman said, but did not give a specific number for the pardoned prisoners.

Activists have said that thousands of civilians ended up in army courts in the security vacuum that followed the fall of Mubarak in 2011. The campaign group No to Military Trials had said at least 5,000 political prisoners were still in jail.

Many of those jailed were arrested in the protests that erupted during the 18 months an interim military government was in charge in Egypt under the leadership of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. Some prisoners have even been tried since Mursi took office in June.

Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Saturday he had fallen short of goals he promised to fulfill in his first 100 days in office.

(Writing by Marwa Awad)

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