Increasing Human Rights Violations Against Political Prisons as a New Interior Minister is Intorduced
Human Rights Monitor expresses its deep concern regarding the escalating violations against political detainees during their detention in Egypt's prisons. It has documented incidents of harsh treatment including brutal beatings and torture in an effort to force confessions or simply for revenge by police officers for opposing the regime. Over 100 detainees have been killed since the coup in July 3rd 2013 in addition to detainees who suffered from heart problems, cancer and other illnesses died as a result of medical negligence behind bars. Other incidents of police violence and injustices against detainees were also documented.
HRM recorded tens of violations committed recently in Egyptian prisons following the appointment of the new Interior Minister where a new policy has been adopted against opposition. Systematic beatings and ill-treatment in Tora's prison including in Tora's Isteqbal and Tora Balad wings have taken place recently. Personal clothing was burnt and blankets were confiscated and food and books from families were also banned. Other breaches included restrictions during visits from families and other degradation.
Aqrab Prison also violated the inmates' rights as new procedures were adopted according to their lawyers. Detainees were denied blankets and warm clothing and they were stripped of extra clothing and given only one meal per visit. Medication and treatment was also banned and detainees in Chamber H4 in particular were denied visitors for objecting to the ill treatment. They were also reprimanded.
Abu Zaabal Prison in Qalubeya also witnessed similar treatment and political detainees' cells were stormed. On March 18, all personal belongings including clothing, blankets and food were confiscated. More than 25 detainees heads were shaved and 7 prisoners were brutally beaten with iron rods and left to bleed. Cells were packed and overcrowded and more than 80 detainees were kept in small areas making spread of diseases higher. Families were also treated harshly during their visits.
HRM also recorded the unfortunate food poisoning of 10 detainees in Alexandria's Borg el Arab prison last Tuesday after consuming prison food since detainees were banned from receiving food from families. The prison's administration threw out the food and prevented its entry.
Such violations including others in police stations in Daqahleya were also recorded during the last few weeks. Torture in Meet Salseel, Gamasa,Mahalla Aldemna stations also took place as detainees were beaten with sticks, whips and rods and electrocuted after their clothes were removed.
Detainees in Meet Salseel were also beaten till they bled and families have reported of blood stains on their clothes and swollen and bruised bodies in addition to difficulty in speaking, Detainees were also made to crawl on the ground with complete disregard to their humanity.
Gamasa witnessed similar methods as detainees were stripped and hosed and left in freezing temperatures as bodily torture disregarding the health status of those detained. One Abdul Dayem Sherif 61 also faced this ill treatment as he was stripped and made to crawl on fours in an effort to humiliate him.
Detainees in Kilo10.5 on the Cairo-Alexandria Rd were also viciously beaten and verbally assaulted by security forces last Tuesday. They were placed in iron cages during their visits and were later attacked ignoring their rights ratified in the international convention for political and civilian rights which cites"no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Detainees in Aqrab Prison were also denied warm coverings and personal belongings for some time and visiting periods were made shorter ad detainees in Chamber H4 were denied complete vising rights for complaining of ill treatment. They were also beaten and reprimanded and some were transferred to an unknown destination.
Detainees in Shebin el Kom Prison were denied treatment in hospitals indicating a contravention to the health care rights and reports of physical and verbal abuse were also made for forced confessions to fabricated crimes they did not commit.
Borg El Arab witnessed the severest of human rights violation with the death penalty executed against civilian Mahmoud Ramadan in the renowned political Sidi Gaber case following the appointment of the new Egyptian Interior Minister. Sixty other detainees were reprimanded and over 113 detainees suffered different injuries after they were attacked and beaten. In the Gharbeneyat Wing in the Borg el Arab prison, detainees in cell 22 were attacked with tear gas, rods and hosed down and were denied entry of personal belongings.
Detainees in Ebaadeya Prison in Damanhour began an open ended hunger strike on March 7 as a result of violations and deprivation of treatment for over 300 detainees and for the burning of and or confiscating of belongings.
HRM expresses its concern with the increasing number of violations stressing it as a breach by Egypt's authorities to article 40 of the constitution. The constitution states that, "No person may be arrested, inspected, detained or have his freedom restricted in any way or be prevented from free movement except by an order necessitated by investigations and the preservation of public security. This order shall be given by the competent judge or the Public Prosecution in accordance with the provisions of the law"..
It is on this note that HRM holds the Egyptian authorities and the new Interior Minister Magdy Abdul Ghafar in particular responsible for these crimes and increasing violations. It also expresses its distress towards the neglect by Egypt's authorities to take steps to end the unprecedented violence and aggression by police which has resulted in the death of tens of detainees.
HRM calls for the immediate investigation of these infringements and calls for better treatment and conditions for detainees and for investigations of those killed as a result. It also demands just and speedy trials for detainees held indefinitely and accused without evidence.
Moreover it highlights the significance of restoring the rights of prisoners chartered in the human rights international convention and other protocols which guarantees the human, cultural, economic, political and civil rights of citizens in other UN agreements ratified by Egypt.