- March 6, 2015
- 6 minutes read
Rights Report: Egyptian Prisons, Detention Centers Kill More Egyptians Every Month
The Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) – an NGO based in Britain – issued a report on Thursday, March 5, 2015 entitled ‘Slow death in Egyptian Prisons’. This focused on medical negligence and gross violations against detainees in Egyptian prisons, which led to the deaths of dozens of detainees and the infection of hundreds with dangerous diseases.
The AOHR report documented the large increase in the number of detainees in Egypt due to the security crackdown by the regime against its opponents, especially with the expansion of pre-trial detention and the abolition of the maximum length of such remand detention.
The report said that the majority of jails and detention centers constitute a grave danger to the lives of all detainees as a natural result of poor conditions of detention inside these places, in addition to issues of corruption in prison administrations and police departments, as well as the absence of oversight into those places of detention, medical neglect and improper care.
The report further emphasized that – from the first moments of arrest – most detainees suffered brutal beatings and grotesque torture to force them to sign false confessions to committing crimes against public security or terrorist offenses. Then, detainees are transferred to places of detention, which are mainly slaughterhouses where diseases run rampant, are spread widely, and infection is transmitted to all, which makes conditions worse for detainees, and healthy ones are infected with serious illnesses.
The AOHR report documented the deaths of 26 detainees, including two women, in Egyptian prisons over the period of four months, from the September 1 to the December 31, 2014.
The report stressed that all these people died as a result of deliberate negligence of their health conditions by security services or prevention of medical assistance to them, while some died under torture routinely carried out by coup security forces.
The report also documented the cases of 42 ill detainees, including 14 people who are slowly dying due to advanced health problems, poor conditions in detention and the lack of necessary facilities for treatment, with the public prosecutor refusing to release them for health conditions, in violation of the provisions of the Prisons Law and the Criminal Procedure Code.
The report emphasized that the reality of Egyptian jails and detention centers affirm that there is a huge divide between international and domestic laws on the one hand and between the reality as applied in Egypt. Despite the compliance of the Egyptian Prisons Act with the majority of what has been stipulated in the Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, all these texts remain dead letters never applied.
Moreover, the report said that according to the rules of criminal responsibility, the suffering of detainees killed inside places of detention for any reasons like torture, medical negligence or improper care, is the responsibility of all those who are directly involved in acts of torture as well as prison and detention center managers, and also those in charge of the executive branch in the Egyptian regime who knew of the crime and did nothing to stop it.
The report pointed out that all the evidence and studies on Egyptian jails and detention conditions confirm that the continuation of the non-human approach will certainly cause the death of detainees, especially with the presence of hundreds of detainees now in Egyptian jails and detention centers in poor health conditions.
Citing this dangerous reality, the report called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights and the European Union to take practical and urgent steps for the release of arbitrarily detained citizens in Egyptian prisons, and to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities to ensure their commitment to local and international laws.