• March 9, 2018
  • 9 minutes read

Wives of Detainees in Coup Prisons: Suffering and Pains

Wives of Detainees in Coup Prisons: Suffering and Pains

 The military coup authorities, via their generals, their armies, their informants and their politicians, and through repressive measures, try to break the prisoners’ families materially and morally to give up the option of completing the revolution; but ironically, the blow that the coup receives is that the wives of the detainees find in this suffering a tax for dignity, freedom, and justice.


On her part, Maryam Khairat Al Shatir, the daughter of the Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, said: "In the absence of her husband, the wife of the detainee has to play the role of the mother and the father together, and she works with all devotion so that her children will stay psychologically healthy and unaffected by their father’s absence. In turn, her husband derives strength from her patience and steadfastness."


Maryam provides important advices for the wives of the activists detained by the coup authorities: "She must not cry in front of her mother, because the heart of her mother cannot bear the pain of her daughter. She has to face hardships like men so that to avoid being thought as weak or an easy prey. She must work in silence since nobody could perceive or feel what she is enduring. The wife of the detainee is in fact a body without a soul, so remember her in your prayers. Allah alone is the ultimate knower of her condition. Oh Allah, bestow your mercy on the weak and your support for the broken."


Cycles of Suffering

The detainees’ families go through several cycles of suffering, some of which are recounted by Aya Alaa Hosni: "The suffering begins with finding money to buy the detainee’s food, clothes, and medicines in the event of illness, in addition to money to be left in the custody of the prison, beside the expenses of transporting the family to the detention place that is often far from the place of residence."


Many families were forced to sell private property to secure their living expenses following the absence of the breadwinners in prisons, Aya said, citing that some families resort to borrowing. In addition, the detainees’ families face all kinds of mistreatment during visits, ranging from limiting visit to a small number of visitors; usually there are long waiting queues of hundreds of visitors.


The spokeswoman for the Families of Detainees’ in Al ‘Aqrab Prison added: "Security officers usually refuse to enter food, clothes and some medicines brought by families." She points out that the visit period is too short, and is in some prisons, visitors and detainees are separated by glass walls and they converse through monitored telephones.

With a great deal of difficulty, S. A., 26, managed to convince her family that she did not want to marry because she did not want to give up her two children and her great hope that her husband, who has been detained for years, will one day return after the fall of the coup.


S. A. is one of the thousands of wives whose husbands were arrested by the coup authorities, and they fought cruel life to support themselves and their children after losing their breadwinner.


Her husband, one of the opponents of the coup against the elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi, was arrested with a large number of opponents of the coup from all political trends and ordinary citizens. She says: "At first, I tried to know his whereabouts by all means after his forcible abduction, I resorted to lawyers and fraudsters, I went to various branches of security, but to no avail."


The most painful thing for S. A. is that she has two children and she does not want to abandon them despite pressures by her family as they constantly try to dismiss her hope that her husband will leave the prison one day. They try to persuade her to remarry, especially that she is beautiful, young and in need of a dependable man. They explained to her the embarrassment of their position, in view of customs and traditions, if she tried to go out and look for work.


However, S. A. challenged her community and went out to look for a job that she could rely on. She sought the help of her neighbor, who works in a women’s center that trains women to master different professions and helps them cope with the heavy burdens and harsh conditions of their lives.


S. A. was trained as a nurse. today she works in a hospital and she is well-paid. Despite the absence of het husband behind bars, she does not intend to leave her job, and is hopeful that she will be able to provide all that her children need and be their father and mother.