In an interview with journalist Charlie Rose on the US-based PBS TV channel during his visit to New York, al-Sisi said that he handed US Secretary of State John Kerry, during their meeting, a list of names of the released political and criminal prisoners whether through court or by a presidential pardon to inform the US administration of Egypt’s keenness on exerting all efforts in respect of human rights.
Al-Sisi claimed that there is no media coverage of such efforts. Asked to address his US counterpart Barack Obama, al- Sisi said Egypt is keen on strategic relations with the United States, pointing to great changes in Egypt and that there is no going back to authoritarianism.
Before the Muslim festival of Eid al- Adha, a number of prisoners in Egypt’s jails were pardoned by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. However, none of the 550 pardoned were from the thousands of political prisoners and youth, who were tried a biased judicial system for opposing Sisi’s military regime, and some of them were sentenced to death. In fact, those who benefited from the presidential pardon were only criminals.
“Although the names that were included in the presidential pardons were published in the Egyptian newspapers and through many columnists who pointed out that the pardon excluded the political prisoners especially the young activists, but it seems that al-Sisi still believes that he can deceive the world that turned into a small village,” said Amin Iskandar, an Egyptian politician and writer.
Iskandar added, “It is the same insistence of al-Sisi to be accompanied by a public and media delegation to support him in the western countries and the United States of America as if they aren’t aware of the real popularity of al-Sisi or the difference between the supporters and opposition.”
Iskandar also criticized al-Sisi’s stance in handing over a list of the released prisoners to US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that this simply means that “We are simply following and implementing the orders of the US administration and we seek their satisfaction.” He continued, “Egypt’s regime seeks to please the American authorities.”
Al-Sisi wanted to tell the American leaders that he is ready to cooperate with them, seek their friendship and follow their orders which infers al-Sisi’s perception of Egypt’s sovereignty.
In the same context, Iskandar pointed to al-Sisi’s meeting with US presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the great attention given by both candidates to the role of the Egyptian-Israeli relations. They declared their satisfaction with al-Sisi policies in the war on terrorism, and called for more cooperation on that level. Iskandar considered the US candidates’ request as the main core of change in the doctrine of the Egyptian Armed Forces made by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime. So, it was normal for al-Sisi to hand over a list of the pardoned prisoners to the US Secretary of State.