A New Crime Taking Place In Egypt’s Prisons

A new crime is taking place in Egypt’s prisons in the light of continuous human rights abuse  under the al-Sisi military regime.

Detainees stationed in death sentence cells at Burg al-Arab prison started to shout out loudly against the prison’s administration who threatened them more than once that they will implement the death sentence ruling, as posted by Alexandria prisoners’ families league on its Facebook page.

The Facebook page stated that “When the voices started to rise from the death sentence cells, the officer Amr Omar entered the cell with some soldiers where they dragged and beat one of the detainees, causing a deep cut in the detainee’s head and he was transferred to the prison’s hospital.”

At the hospital, the detainee was asked about the reason behind his injury and when he replied saying that the police officer has been beating them, he was immediately transferred from the hospital before taking his medical treatment and he was beaten again.

When the news reached the detainees in Burg al-Arab prison, they started to express their anger toward the violations practices against their colleagues by hitting the cells’ doors and shouting in distress to rescue their colleagues in the death sentence cells.

In response, the prison administration prevented the prisoners from practicing sports and the cells weren’t opened to take out the garbage or to go out for visits.

As a result, the detainees inside the cells shouted against the prison administration practices. Accordingly, the officer Amr Omar entered one of the cells and beat Mr. Alaa al-Sayed whose face was severely injured.

When the detainees expressed their distress, the prison administration called the special troops accompanied by officer Amr Omar to storm cell no 21 that tried to resist for hours.

In response, the special troops fired tear gas to force the detainees to open the cell’s gate which led to several suffocation cases among the detainees. Moreover, Mohammed Emad -one of the detainees- lost his consciousness as he was suffering from lung allergy.

The security forces stormed the cell and they beat, dragged, took dozens of the detainees, folded their eyes, and handcuffed them from behind. Several detainees were threatened to be transferred from the prison (to a far prison).

Regarding the detainees’ families, the prison administration allowed only 3 lists out of 20 lists to enter and visit their relatives, during the first visit time. But during the second visit time, the families were prevented from visiting their relatives.

In addition, some of the central security forces at Burj al-Arab prison expelled that detainees’’ families, banned the visits and threatened to shoot them if they did not leave.

It is noteworthy that a day before the outbreak of these events, Abbas Ahmed Abbas Mahmoud Taha (30 years old), one of the criminal detainees, was killed by the police officer Amr Omar.

In a previous report released by Human Rights Watch in September 2016, Joe Stark, the deputy Middle-East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said,” Egypt’s detention system is overflowing with critics of the government.”

The situation in Egypt’s prisons is disastrous as prisons suffer torture, ill-treatment, and medical negligence.

Since July 2013 when Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a military coup against Mohamed Morsi- the country’s first democratically elected president and a high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood member, “the Egyptian authorities have engaged in one of the widest arrest campaigns in the country’s modern history, targeting a broad spectrum of political opponents.”