The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to pardon 35 Egyptians held inside Dubai and Sharjah prisons.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday that the UAE had issued the decision on 10 July, coinciding with the first day of Ramadan in the gulf country. The decision came after the Egyptian consulate had submitted petitions on behalf of Egyptians who met pardon conditions.
At the end of 2012, Emirati authorities arrested 11 Egyptians, accused of leading a Muslim Brotherhood cell.
Mohamed Shehata, from the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said that the Ramadan pardon is unlikely to have included these 11; “Their case is still ongoing and they will not be pardoned.”
He noted the prison sentences issued against 69 out of 94 Emirati Islamists accused of plotting to overthrow the government. One of the defendants is a member of the ruling family in the Ras Al-Khaima Emirate.
Shehata said it is not likely that the Emiratis be sentenced and Egyptians accused of the same charge be released.
In April as well, 103 Egyptian prisoners in the UAE were ordered released by the government.
Another group of 30 Egyptians and Emiratis was referred to trial in June for establishing an illegal branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ties between the oil-rich Gulf nation and Egypt, which have been tense since the 2011 revolution, have shown signs of a thaw after the 3 July ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. In response to his removal, the UAE stated that it “is following with satisfaction developments in Egypt.”
Last week, the UAE approved a $1bn grant to Egypt, as well as a $2bn loan.