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Egyptian president pardons protesters

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has issued a mass pardon to all those arrested or convicted of crimes pertaining to actions "in support of the revolution" that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power.

Morsi issued the general amnesty Monday, based on the recommendation of his military trial review committee. It covers citizens facing trial and those already serving jail sentences, except for people convicted of murder.

The pardon only applies to people arrested between January 25, 2011 and June 30 of this year, when Morsi took office.

Massive protests began on January 25 last year in Cairo's Tahrir Square that forced then-president Mubarak to step down after more than 30 years of dictatorial rule.

Activists have said that thousands of civilians ended up in the military court system when Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control of the country following the fall of Mubarak. The campaign group No to Military Trials estimated at least 5,000 political prisoners were still in jail.

Many of those in detention were arrested during protests in the 18 months of SCAF's rule under Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

The order comes 100 days after Morsi became the first freely elected president of Egypt and first civilian head of state.

dr/mz (Reuters, AFP, AP)