x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Sheikh Khalifa orders release of Egyptian prisoners

The pardon, which comes on the eve of the UAE President's state visit to the UK, was welcomed by the Egyptian ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Tamer Mansour.

President Sheikh Khalifa has ordered the release of 103 Egyptian prisoners this week.

The pardon, which comes on the eve of his state visit to the UK, was welcomed by the Egyptian ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Tamer Mansour. He said the gesture will improve strained relations between the two countries which soured after veteran Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak, a longtime Gulf ally, was toppled in 2011.

In an email sent to news agency Reuters, Mansour said the move was "an initiative that is bound to open all paths of good deeds between Egypt and its sister, the UAE. It will also remove all the harmful residues that had clung to their historic relations in the previous period".

The President also pledged to settle the prisoners' financial obligations that came as a result of their sentences.

The state news agency Wam said the pardon "underlines the president's keenness to offer the released prisoners the opportunity to start a new life and alleviate the suffering of their families".

Eleven Egyptians remain imprisoned. These men were detained last year on suspicion of training revolutionary Islamists.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

* additional reporting by Reuters