Committees to be formed on Sunday to enact decisions from National Youth Conference

Committees are due to be formed on Sunday to implement decisions made by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during the closing session of the the first National Youth Conference, which concluded on Thursday in Sharm al-Sheikh.

In a statement on Friday, the president's press office announced that working groups will be formed to represent executive and governmental bodies, parliament and national groups, including political parties, universities, intellectuals, sports figures and researchers.

Their task will be to follow through on decisions made during the youth conference and agree on ways to implement policies.

Among the key policies to be considered by the groups is the plan to arrange the release of young activists who are serving prison terms but who were not involved in acts of violence. Sisi stated during the conference that this was an important project that would help to med relations between the government and Egypt's youth.

Sisi said that young MPs should be involved in drawing up lists of young people recommended for release, a proposal that was met positively by opposition figures.

Informed sources from the Interior Ministry told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the ministry has not yet received official notification on the formation of committees to check the names and documents of prisoners nationwide. However, the committees will likely be formed under supervision of presidency later this week, they said.

According to the same sources, the ministry will implement any presidential decisions regarding the pardoning of prison inmates, although it will apply only to those who have been handed final verdicts. If the committees provide lists of people who should be released, the ministry will examine the list to see who is eligable for a pardon.

Prisoners detained pending investigations are in the hands of the judiciary, they said. They also denied that there are any "political prisoners" in Egyptian prisons, since everyone serving a prison sentence has been convicted of a particular criminal act.

In related news, Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa has called on graduates of the Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) from the ministry to meet him on Tuesday to allow them to play a greater role in the ministry, taking advantage of the expertise they got from the program.

Head of Journalists Syndicate Yehia Qallash described as "positive" Sisi’s instructions to the government over coordination with parliament to expedite the issuance of laws regulating the work of Egypt's media. He expressed hope that such moves will take place soon.

Regarding Sisi’s decision to release detained youth, Qallash said, “We hope this decision will not be followed by any obstacles and will be carried out within 15 days, as per the president during the conference. The syndicate addressed the presidency twice regarding the detained journalists. It will communicate for a third time with the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and the committee tackling the protesters issue.”

Since being elected as president, Sisi has issued pardons to prisoners on several occasions and made efforts to mend fences with young people seeking to transform Egypt through protests.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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