• August 26, 2015
  • 6 minutes read

Death Chambers, Aqrab Prison

Death Chambers, Aqrab Prison

 Aqrab Prison is located within the Tora Prison Complex, south of Cairo. It consists of four large wards, all divided with armored gates and reinforced concrete. It also has twenty disciplinary segregation cells.

According to rights organizations, 150 to 200 Islamist leaders detained in Aqrab Prison are not allowed any visits from their families, for long months. They are subjected to starvation episodes, with significant reduction in the amounts included in their already inhumane meagre meals.

The prison administration bans all medicines and health care to all inmates. As a result, a number of detainees were killed slowly and painfully due to medical negligence, such as Farid Ismail, Essam Derbala, Tarek Ghandour, and Nabil Maghrebi.

Moreover, Aqrab prison administration methodically tortures detainees with beatings, electric shocks, harassment and rape. In the winter, wardens take away blankets, covers and clothing, while in the winter, they close the ventilation system and cut the water supply to inmates completely.

The incredibly difficult humanitarian situation faced by Aqrab detainees, seems to indicate that the ruling military junta has come to the decision of physically liquidating, or at lease severely humiliating political prisoners, using them as a bargaining chip or a lever for political pressure.

Examples of violations at Aqrab Prison

1. Banning visits from detainees’ families: For example, visits were banned from the beginning of March until the end of July 2015, then allowed for a three-week period. Then again, visits were banned from the third week of July until now.

2. Dark dungeons: Many detainees are left in solitary confinement cells for extended periods. In communal cells, 3 people share an area of ​​2.5 × 3.0 meters (7.5 sq m). They are forced to sleep directly on concrete floors, without any bedding or flooring between them and the concrete at all.

3. No exercise: Detainees are totally banned from getting out of the cells for any reason other than attending an interrogation or hearing session. They never see sun or sky except when they go out for interrogation or hearing sessions.

4. Food banned: Detainees are banned from receiving any food from their families on the rare occasions when visits are allowed. Meanwhile, Aqrab prison administration only gives prisoners one meal a day. Worse still, all meals were banned completely for a period of three days, after the assassination of Egypt’s public prosecutor. This causes serious deterioration in the detainees’ health, especially those who are already ill. Absurdly, salt is banned from all foods offered to political prisoners.

5. No health care: Since the beginning of March 2015, all items of personal hygiene and grooming were removed from detainees’ cells. Even water was cut off. This caused inmates infections and skin diseases.

6. Essential medical treatment not allowed: All detainees are not allowed to receive their life-saving drugs from their families on the rare visits allowed, although most suffer chronic diseases. Some inmates need urgent surgical operations, but the prison administration refuses completely.

7. No education: All Aqrab prison inmates are totally banned from receiving their academic textbooks or taking exams in their colleges.