A Message from a Political Prisoner

A Message from a Political Prisoner
By Dr Mohamed Abdol Rahman Al Morsi Ramadahn- specialist Heart Consultant

Al-Mansorah, Egypt and currently under contingent imprisonment in Al-Mansorah General Prison since 14/05/2005 under case No 4272

What happened of breaches by the Egyptian regime to human rights and law guarantees against demonstrators calling for freedom was not just a knee jerk of a nervous regime or an act of individual officers belonging to confused security apparatus but rather a behavioural prototype that is repeated over the last 24 years. It is a deep-rooted culture and a clear and distinct feature of the characteristics of despotism, dictatorship, repression, scorn, humiliation and the total disregard to the basic rights of the people. In addition to the enormous number of unjust -make as you go along- exceptional laws and the predominance of the emergency law that makes a total mockery of the rule of law and of people basic rights we find ourselves facing a regime that professes the practice of repression and suppression. Amongst these practices the regime uses are:

 The perverted habit of “Absolute accusations without a single lawful evident” just relying on State Security-Amn El Dawlah- obscure and false investigations

The monstrous behaviour of the state security- that is punishable under the international war criminal tribunal- includes home busting, terrorising dwellers, destruction of house contents, and hi-jacking of political prisoners to places which are not known to relatives until they finish with them and pass them onto the office of the helpless public prosecution-that is under they direct control- to be paraded before the district attorney-Wakeel Al Niabah- and to be discharged with evident provided by them. The evident is only a collection of published books that is available to public as if reading and ownership of books and the appreciation of literatures is a crime that commands a prison sentence. This happens in this day in age as if we are still living in the medieval whereby books were burnt and their readers were put on trials.

The perverted habit of “Repetitive Contingent Imprisonment” practiced by the State Security without any lawful justification, which continues for several months and becomes in itself a punishment for the innocent person who is accused of no crime. Furthermore when discharged the case is not closed or shelved or even this person is put on trial in front of a judge to be declared innocent or otherwise but his case is kept open indefinitely over the years. And in case they kindly put him on trial it will only be before a military court that follows their orders and just reads what they dictated to them of already predetermined rulings that have no likeness in any country that belongs to the world of humanity.

The full control of State Security on literally everything is beyond any stoppable limit and without any surveillance or accountability; There is its full control on the attorney office that is not only not autonomous but also renews detention time after time awaiting to release the prisoners only upon receipt of a decision made by the State Security and reaches the district attorney via the Attorney general office. We urge people to check the district attorney repeated interrogation records, which include nothing new throughout the months of the contingent incarceration let alone the list of prisoners who are crowding the prisons continually for many years, to ensure the accuracy of this statement.

Also the full control of the State Security over prisons in such a way whereby its officer commands, forbids and decides what ever he wishes inside the prisons the thing that prompts the governor and the prison officers to bow to his orders. The curse will follow those who dare to defy the State Security officer’s orders who would end up being transferred to remote inhospitable areas parted from their families.

What is this? The Iranian Savak or the Nazi Gestapo did not reach that level of tyranny!

What we mentioned above amount to nothing compared to the slaughterhouses and the abattoirs of torture established by the State Security within their offices and carried out by its own officers, which had seen tens of innocent martyrs on the hand of these guru torturers. When the time comes for the discharge of an innocent defender after a long imprisonment he must pass by the state security officer who would practice on him his mighty threats while he is blindfolded for several days before he is allowed to go home. As to the methods of interrogation and torture as if we are in Guantanamo Bay or Abu-Gharib Prison.

This is a modest example of what the medical doctors, engineers, professionals and university professor’s face in regime’s prisons when they were arrested and detained under contingent imprisonment act. In these prisons the political prisoner looses the rights afforded to contingent prisoners by law and is treated as if he is a sentenced criminal prisoner and put under harsh conditions in so far as; sleeping on the floor, the food offered, the confinement throughout the day and the night in a cell that is ill-ventilated and does not see the sun light. This is in addition to swearing and humiliating treatment whereby the political prisoner is stripped off all human meanings and his legal rights. Then after few weeks they bestow on him some of these rights just for every one to realise that the State Security officer-Mabaheth- above the law and that every thing is down to him to give or to forbid. This is the psychology and deformed nature of these creatures that have merely lost their humanity. The majority of them suffer from schizophrenia, double behaviour, megalomania and sadistic nature and appetite for torturing and hearting those who are under their control.

Some times the political prisoners are kept in district and police station prisons for a period up to several weeks. These prisons are not equipped to coup and are overcrowded for the sole purpose of humiliation, degradation and annihilation of the pride and dignity of the political prisoner. They are kept in cages behind bars where doors of these prison’s cells are kept locked. They are left to sleep on top of each other and some have to stand the whole night and the majority of the day amongst drug addicts and criminals who smoke cannabis, marijuana. Passing urine and emptying bowels of excrement in front of all the inmates becomes extremely difficult let alone being exposed to theft, bulling, molestation, degradation and humiliation at the hands of the criminals.
This repression and this darkness had gone on for far too long and the files must be opened and a black list of all who have participated in torturing and humiliating the human dignity in Egypt must be drawn. Let the day come- by God welling it will be soon – for all those to be punished according to the law and shall be trialled for war crimes and crimes against humanity. That is all we can achieve in this earthly world, however in the hereafter there will be the grand court and the absolute justice where we all stand before almighty Allah: “ So, whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it”, The Noble Qur’an, Chapter 30, Surah Az-Zalzalah, verses 7 & 8.

As to what I have faced; I was hijacked one afternoon during the day light in front of my place of work at Sherbean Hospital where I work as a cardiologist by a State Security officer-Mabaheth Amn El-Dawlah. I was dumped at Talkha District Prison on 14/05/2005 despite of the attorney decision to be put in Al-Mansorah Governorate General Prison. The cell in Talkha prison was crowded with criminal prisoners and registered villains who pose danger and threat to public. Though the cell was intended for only 5 persons we were 17 in total without proper ventilation and we do not see the sunlight. The door is opened once a day for five minutes only to check on the number of prisoners and to distribute the food ration that is not enough to feed a baby nor has any nutritional values. The place is full of insects, ants, lice, cockroaches an has an attached small toilet without a sink, a flushing cistern or a shower, has no door or even a curtain and smells awful.

In the first couple of days and due to the state of over crowd-ness of the place I could not find a space to stand on except in the toilet where I stood for more that 11 consecutive hours during the day. I also stood all night in the cell because there was no room for sleeping. As to emptying the bowels and the bladder it had to be done in front of the very eyes of all prisoners, which in itself constitutes an indecent assault on human dignity.

The prisoners smoke throughout the day and night, which fills the tiny room with smoke due to the lack of ventilation and as I am an asthmatic I therefore suffered from severe short breath and sharp lung inflammations. I did ask to be supplied with the medicine or to allow my family to do so but they refused.

The criminal prisoners smoke cannabis, marijuana and take ecstasy pills and LSD drugs and threaten and blackmail whoever dare not to pay to finance their habits. I was bullied, blackmailed and robbed and when I made a complaint to the officer and asked for it to be referred to the sheriff I was told that it is the State Security instructions not to be transferred to the general prison and they did not take any action.

Upon arrival to the district prison they barred me from contacting my family or my lawyer for three days and I was not given any thing to eat for more than 24 hours until I was given some while paraded before the district attorney-Wakeel El-Niaba- who had recorded all of this into his interrogation records but he did not investigate any of the incidents and took no action. This has continued for 13 days until I was transferred one evening on Thursday the 26th May 2005 to Al-Mansorah General Prison where 150 other contingent prisoners were there for the reason of taking part in the demonstrations. Amongst them were 10 medical doctors who were on hunger strike due to the ill treatment as they were forced to take off their clothes and to enter the prison cells wearing just their underwear until their families have managed to supply them with clothes in a later visit. They were forced into damp and tight crowded cells measure no more than 3M long by less than 2M wide and 2.5M in height. Each cell houses 8 prisoners supplied with two buckets, one contains water and the other to be used as a potty-in lieu of a toilet- for their urine and excrement. They stay in the cell for 20 hours a day continuously and sleep on the floor. In front of these cells there is an open-uncovered- sewer channel that supply the cell with continuous influx of insects, ants and cockroaches.

The prison officer always forces them to take off their shoes or their slippers to enter into his office barefooted under a barrage of humiliating swears and obscene name-calling. This happens to medical doctors, engineers, university professors, respected professionals and others of the society elites. The prison ward has only four toilets outside the cells to serve 150 prisoners who queue up to use it once a day for only two hours to go back to their cells where the urine and excrement buckets are waiting for them. The hunger strike continued until the conditions enhanced only slightly by extending the period through which we use the toilet though was still unsatisfactory. Only when half of the prisoners were released the demand on the toilets was less and the situation became slightly better especially when they stopped swearing at us and also stopped their intimate search whereby they searched us thoroughly every day for sharp objects and they open our mouths looking for razors exactly as the Americans did with Saddam Hussein.

This relative improvement in our condition is not permanent as various other ways of harassment is still a routine and a common practice. For instance on Thursday 23/06/05 they refused to hand to us meals that have been prepared in our homes and sent by our families. An officer named Mohamed Abo Raiyah made the order, which had resulted in breaking our fast on just bread and water-as we were fastening on Thursday following the Sunnah of our Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him- as we did not receive our daily food ration that morning relying on meals that would be supplied from our homes. When paraded before the attorney I made a complaint, which he entered into his interrogation records but did not investigate or take any actions as usual. Worth mentioning that the prison food ration for a whole month did not contain any meet or poultry.

As and when the decision comes for the release of any of us, the prison intelligence officer-Mabaheth- overrides the attorney writ by overwriting on it “to be paraded before the State Security in their premises” and refuses to release this prisoner. The person in question goes to the State Security to spend couple of days or more before his actual release and when he goes back to his place of work to resume his job he is fined for his absence. I personally faced this scenario when I went back to my work upon my release from prison last year (2004) after spending six months in contingent imprisonment under Case Number 462 Amn Dawlah-e.g. State Security. The Health Directorate in Daqahliyah has impeded my resumption of work for a while and considered the period I was detained by the State Security as unpaid leave. Furthermore they have imposed a fine on me by subtracting three days’ wages from my salary merely because the State Security made accusations against me though the Attorney office ordered my release as I was not prosecuted and hence was not charged with any offence. This is in addition to the mal-treatment from the interrogating officer at my place of work whom I was referred to.