Al-Nour Party Chairman Younes Makhioun met with the prosecutor general Sunday to follow up on interim President Adly Mansour’s pledge to review the legal cases of people who “were wrongly arrested and detained”, according to a party statement.
Mansour asked Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in a speech on 26 January to conduct a legal review for detainees who were not involved in violence, particularly university students.
Mansour’s request was commended by the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, which called for the release of detained students “to safeguard their future”, as they are of a young age.
After Al-Nour Party announced that it is backing former military chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the upcoming elections, Makhioun said in an interview on CBC Extra Sunday that he discussed liberties with the presidential candidate and Al-Sisi asserted that he “does not want anyone wrongly behind bars and that he wants decent and humane treatment for all Egyptians.”
Makhioun who led a party delegation that included the its secretary general, Galal Morra, denied that the meeting with Barakat was about any of the cases filed against the party or its leaders.
There are no official figures totalling the number of students who have been arrested since July, when the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was deposed. Figures from the ministry of Interior indicate that just between January and 29 March, 2,803 people were arrested for rioting and inciting violence, 1,600 were arrested for attacking police stations and public and private property, and 135 were arrested from “terrorist cells”.
In one day alone, a total of 1,079 people were arrested during the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, a day that was marred by deadly violence. The ministry did not indicate how many of those were students, but the figures are in the hundreds.
Egypt’s universities have witnessed the most violent academic year in recent history. In February, 11 youth groups signed a statement condemning what they said was the illegal detention of 22,000 people, many of them youth.
Al-Nour Party, the political wing of the conservative preaching group Salafi Da’awa decided to back Al-Sisi after 93% of the party’s leadership voted in his favour on Saturday. Makhioun said in the interview that Al-Sisi believes that any political faction can partake in the political process as long as it only uses peaceful methods and adheres to democracy. “He has no intention to exclude anyone within this framework,” he said.
The party is still determining how it will support the presidential candidate, he said.
Al-Nour Party will be competing for all seats in the parliamentary elections, which will be held after the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for 26 and 27 May, he said.