CAIRO – 6 May 2019: On the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a presidential decree on Sunday, May 5, to release 89 imprisoned debtors.
Debtors are defined as male or female citizens who are in debt and can’t repay it, so they were sent to jail. According to the initiative “Egypt without Debtors” they are not considered as criminals in front of the law, and they have the right t social participation in election and otherwise, unless they fall into debt once again.
PresidentAbdel Fatah al-Sisi launched the initiative “Egypt without Debtors” through the fund Tahia Masr, which allocated 30 million pounds to address the problem, and managed to pay the debts of Debtors who are imprisoned.
The Presidential decision comes as part of the “Prisons without Debtors” initiative that was launched in 2018.
In 2018, a joint committee formed of different Parliamentarian committees including Defense and National Security, and Constitutional and Legislation Affairs committees discussed a draft law introduced by dozens of Parliament members that suggests involving debtors in community service as an alternative penalty to imprisonment.
According to the draft law, the prison punishment a debtor faces would be replaced with community service, away from the prison, based on the Judge’s perspective and opinion whether the defendant is legally defined as a debtor.
The workplaces, job description, working hours, grants and punishments would be determined by the prime minister or the concerned minister acting on his behalf, with respect to the debtor’s age.
The defendant has the right to appeal against the judge’s decision based on constitutional laws.
Dr. Maya Morsi, president of the National Council for Women, said in a statement that the president's decision recognizes the extent of the suffering of Egyptian families headed by a woman, stressing that some of these women may be imprisoned for small amounts of money does not exceed one thousand pounds.
Maya Morsi pointed to the need to educate women about signing receipt or checks, and the implications.
A total of 405 prisoners were released on June 21, 2018, per a presidential pardon, while 478 others were granted a conditional release.
On June 15, 2018, a total of 2,110 prisoners were released per the same presidential pardon that was issued on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr (Religious feast marking the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan).
On July 23, 2019, a total of 683 debtors were released from prisons.
On March 21, 2019, the Tahia Masr Fund announced the payment of the debts of 70 female debtors on the occasion of Mother's Day and took all necessary measures to release them during a ceremony organized by the prison sector in the Ministry of the Interior.
Finally as mentioned above on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a presidential decree on Sunday, May 5, to release 89 imprisoned debtors.