Egypt issues decree on foreign prisoners

New law allows president to repatriate foreign prisoners, but fate of three jailed Al Jazeera staff still unclear.

President Sisi had in July said he wished the Al Jazeera journalists had been deported and not put on trial [Reuters]

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has issued a decree which allows him to repatriate foreign prisoners in the country, state media reported.

“The president issued a law on Wednesday allowing (him) to agree to surrender and transport non-Egyptian convicts and suspects to their countries to be tried or have their punishment implemented,” the official news agency MENA said on Wednesday. 

“This decision comes in the framework of upholding the nation’s interests and preserving Egypt’s international image” MENA quoted presidential spokesman Alaa Yousef as saying.

However, it is not clear what the decree means for three Al Jazeera journalists who have now been detained in Egypt for 320 days. 

Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were falsely accused and then convicted of aiding the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Al Jazeera Media Network has maintained that the accusations against the three journalists are absurd.

Western governments and human rights groups have condemned the case, with the United Nations questioning Egypt’s reputation and the independence of its judiciary.

Sisi said in July that he wished the imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists had been deported and not put on trial. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies