June 15, 2018 / 4:10 PM / a month ago

Egypt's Sisi pardons 3,477 prisoners ahead of Eid holiday

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned 3477 prisoners before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, many of them imprisoned for debt, the interior ministry said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Sisi has issued pardons several times a year, including on major national holidays, often releasing students and young protesters. [nL5N1T84KB]

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a military ceremony in the courtyard of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France, November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Since coming to power in 2014, Sisi has presided over a crackdown on Islamist opponents and liberal activists that rights groups say is the worst period of political repression in modern Egyptian history.

Sisi said on his official Twitter account that he had ordered the interior ministry to release all those jailed for debt, a total of 690 people, according to an interior ministry statement.

It was not clear what crime the remaining 2,787 prisoners were convicted of and no list of names was immediately available.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy and Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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