Helwan Police Station Detainees’ Plea for Help
We are the political detainees of Cell Number 3, Helwan Police Station (Cairo). We have been here for nearly three months. We hope you can help change this intolerable situation and inhuman conditions before we perish here.
We are in continuous hardship and are dying a slow death, unimaginable to anyone who is not with us or is not in a situation similar to ours. We tell you of our situation so everyone may do whatever they can to end the hardships we are enduring.
Here are the facts:
1. Helwan Police Station has four cells, each 6 by 4 meters, which means it can take up to twenty people at the most.
2. We, the detainees of Cell Number 3, are 60 individuals, sometimes more, half of whom are political and the remainder criminal. Criminal means continuous smoking, fights, profanity and vulgar, obscene language and behavior.
3. The temperature now reaches 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), and in the summer it is like a furnace for humans.
4. The bathroom – there is only one for 60 detainees or more – is accessible by standing in line.
5. Sleep is in four shifts. There is no room except for only a quarter of us to sleep at a time.
6. We do not receive any of the food, drink or medicine allocated for us.
7. Books are forbidden. Newspapers are forbidden. Radios are forbidden. The sun is a dream. A mobile phone is a crime. Anyone caught in possession of a phone is beaten; the phone itself is confiscated or destroyed.
8. Visits are limited to one or two minutes at most, to receive food during certain limited times. Some visitors cannot enter because there are too many families wishing to visit their loved ones.
9. Insects around us have evolved. Cockroaches have transformed into mosquitoes, fleas have become scorpions, while no insecticides are allowed.
10. Sleeplessness, mental and physical pains are all that surround us.
11. The sounds of criminals being tortured break our hearts and bring tears to our eyes. This is only a fraction of the problems we have to face here. There are many more causes of sadness: feelings of injustice, fear for our children, lack of resources (money, etc).
Every sincere, honorable person who cannot accept oppression or injustice is requested to:
1. Pressure interior ministry officials to change conditions for political detainees in general, and in the Helwan Police Station in particular.
2. Pressure all prosecutors and human rights organizations to visit and inspect police stations, prisons and other detention centers.
3. Publish our tragedy in the media, and in all other ways possible, to help change our situation and end our torture.
4. Pressure the judiciary to end our torture and give us our rights.
5. Pray to God to end this ordeal.
Your brethren in preventive detention
Helwan Police Station
November 15, 2013