Middle East

Egypt pardons 203 people jailed for illegal protests

Egypt's president has pardoned 203 people convicted and jailed for their participation in illegal protests.

Monday's pardon by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi did not cover any of the iconic, secular activists jailed for violating the 2013 protests law, which has effectively ended street activism in Egypt except for demonstrations by government supporters.

El-Sissi has overseen a major crackdown primarily targeting Islamists along with secular pro-democracy activists since he led the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, ending the Islamist leader's divisive, one-year rule.

The retired general took office a year later with a landslide victory in presidential elections.

Along with jailing critics, el-Sissi's government has steadily eroded freedoms won in a 2011 uprising that toppled the regime of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.