(AA) – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday said that, according to Egyptian law, presidential pardons for journalists currently in police custody could only be granted after the latter received final court verdicts.
Addressing a delegation from the Federation of Arab Journalists in capital Cairo, al-Sisi said that, under Egyptian law, accused individuals must be handed a final court verdict before the president can consider granting him or her an amnesty, according to presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef.
In a statement, Youssef said that members of the delegation had implored al-Sisi to grant an amnesty to journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt.
Al-Sisi, he added, had told delegation members that he believed the best war for Egypt to deal with “infractions” committed by foreign journalists was to deport the journalists in question.
Diaa Rashwan, chairman of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate, meanwhile, said five Egyptian journalists were in jail for alleged violations that had nothing to do with publishing offences, Youssef stated.
He said al-Sisi had told the visitors that Egypt’s experience over the past three years had illustrated Egyptians’ rejection of “political Islam.”
Al-Sisi said advocates of political Islam believed that only they were right and that everyone else was wrong.
“They [the advocates of political Islam] do not believe in coexistence with others,” al-Sisi was quoted by the statement as saying.
The Egyptian president, according to the statement, said the Arab region was facing the toughest test in its history, making it necessary for Arabs to understand the reasons for the current state of affairs.
An Egyptian court in June handed 18 people, including a handful of journalists from the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera channel, prison sentences ranging from three to ten years.