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    Egypt pardons hundreds jailed for demonstrating

    CAIRO — President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday pardoned more than 330 young people, most of whom had been convicted and jailed for their participation in illegal protests.

    Egypt’s president has the authority to pardon those who have been convicted and cannot appeal their sentences. Authorities in Muslim countries traditionally release prisoners on the eve of the fasting month of Ramadan as a show of mercy. Ramadan begins on Thursday this year.

    In televised remarks, Sissi said he ordered that all the procedures be completed so the prisoners can ‘‘eat sohour at their homes,’’ referring to the predawn meal before the daily sunup-to-sundown fast.

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    Officials said a total of 332 prisoners would be released, including prodemocracy activists who were found in violation of a 2013 law that prohibits unauthorized protests.

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    Egypt has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since Sissi led the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his yearlong rule.

    associated press