Experts: Prison Act in Egypt Is Unconstitutional

Experts: Prison Act in Egypt Is Unconstitutional

Lawyers and judges stressed that the current Prison Act is unconstitutional as it was passed in 1965 in the absence of parliament and was not reviewed after its formation.

They stressed that the Emergency Law hampers the role of the general prosecution in supervising places of detention belonging to the Interior Ministry.

Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, professor in Constitutional Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law in Monoufeya University stated during the conference that general prosecution, and supervising detention centres under the Prison Act and the laws of Criminal Procedures, identified the rights of detainees, but in reality, detainees do not receive their rights.

 He criticised the contradiction between the two laws where the laws of Criminal Procedures provide that detainees have the right to submit complaints to the prison warden, and that the warden has to accept and pass them immediately to the prosecution; while the Prison Act gives the prison warden the authority to either accept or reject the complaint; hence, they will reject all complaints which would mostly be made against them.

 He described the visits of members of the prosecution to prisons and detention centres as superficial and lacking surprise. He explained that the general prosecution would not be strong unless the attorney general was chosen by the High Judiciary Council. He said:  “As long as the attorney general is being chosen by the head of state it will have political measures”.

 Councillor Ashraf Qandil, vice-president of Cairo Court of Appeals stated that the Emergency Law hampers the process of prosecutors inspecting the headquarters of security services, because security officers would issue an arrest warrant to detainees once they are informed that an inspection will take place.

 Prosecutors cannot inspect the headquarters of security services without permission from the attorney general.