• February 28, 2015
  • 4 minutes read

Alkarama Rights Organization Addresses UN About Deaths in Detention

Alkarama Rights Organization Addresses UN About Deaths in Detention

On February 11, 2015, Alkarama for Human Rights organization (based in Britain), addressed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. Alkarama detailed the facts pertaining to three Egyptian citizens who had died in coup prisons towards the end of 2014.

Those were Abu-Bakr Ahmed Hanafi, 46 years; Zaki Abul-Magd Hanafi, 54 years; and Mahmoud Abdel-Razek Shafei Rubi, 27, who died because of medical neglect and deprivation of proper treatment.

The three victims give a striking example of the terrible conditions of detention, and the widespread practice of torture, brutal abuse and ill-treatment by coup security forces in Egypt.

Ahmed Mefreh, Alkarama Coordinator in Egypt, says: "More than 200 people died in detention in 2014 as a result of torture or the absence of necessary medical treatment. The authorities are turning a blind eye on this issue, which makes them complicit in these crimes and violations, shouldering at least part of the responsibility for these totally unjustified deaths".

Meanwhile, Rashid Masali, Alkarama legal director, believes that coup authorities "use Egyptian prisons’ many problems (such as overcrowding, lack of hygiene and violence) as a means to break or put pressure on opponents of the regime".

The three men were simply victims of extremely brutal arrest methods and harsh treatment because of their ‘likely’ or perceived political stances or affiliations. Despite symptoms of illnesses and diseases acquired in prison, and despite repeated calls for urgent medical check-ups, none of them received appropriate treatment.

The prison administration did not attempt to move them to any hospital, until their conditions worsened. Furthermore, because of their legal status as detainees, they never received proper treatment.

Alkarama condemns this behavior which violates the fundamental right to treatment and which is tantamount to abuse and maltreatment, as stated in the 2013 report of the Special Rapporteur on torture. Indeed, the authorities are depriving them of their right to proper treatment, despite knowing their health problems. The coup authorities’ failure to take necessary measures to ensure detainees are given necessary medical treatment, encouraged increased cruel and inhuman treatment.

The authorities’ deliberate and premeditated behavior that led to their death is a violation of international law, and in particular the United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners of December 14, 1990, which states in Article 9 "should be made available to prisoners access to health services available in the country without discrimination on the basis of their legal status". Indeed, this act also violates local laws relating to health services for prisoners.

Egyptian authorities’ neglect makes them responsible for the deaths of the three victims. For this, Alkarama appealed to the United Nations, and in particular to Mr. Dynos Boras, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to report Egyptian prison administrations’ failure to respect laws relating to the provision of health services to prisoners, and to appeal to the UN to intervene with the Egyptian authorities and demand they open investigations into these three deaths, and to take the necessary measures to safeguard prisoners’ mental and physical well-being.