Since his letter that was published in the New York Times, Gehad al-Hadad has been exposed to disciplinary detention, facing brutal torture.
Gehad al-Hadad’s mother, Mrs. Mona Emam, published a post on her Facebook page that unveils the non-humanitarian punishment applied on her son in Egypt’s notorious prison, the Scorpion Prison or what is publicly known by the Scorpion Cemetery.
She wrote that the disciplinary detention in the Scorpion Prison is known for its poor conditions, almost like graves, without bathrooms or windows or openings, even the very small door hole (opening) is always closed. She added that the walls are painted in black and the cell has no electricity, which means that the detainees will stay for 24 hours in complete darkness.
She said, “As long as the openings are closed, there is no outlet for sunlight to pass through and as long as there is no electricity, there is no light at all,” adding, “A detainee isn’t allowed to go out for any reason during the disciplinary detention, which means that he will reside for days or weeks in complete darkness until they totally destroy him physically and psychologically!!”
“These places have no bathrooms but only two buckets, one for food waste and the other for defecation,” she said.
Mrs. Mona Emam said that these cells are smaller than the solitary confinements so that the detainee would sleep only while sitting.
She said, “Everything is forbidden, even the canteen, which means that he will only eat from the food given to him that is according to former disciplinary detention residents is only a half piece of bread per day or he will be deprived completely from food based on the prison administration’s will.”
Medicines are also banned as well as blankets.
The Scorpion Prison is Tora’s last prison that lies in a remote place surrounded by vast plain areas that separates it from the prison’s walls.
As a result, in bitter coldness especially at night, the detainee couldn’t sleep because of the cold weather as it is noteworthy that all the Scorpion prisoners are given the prison’s clothes from light fabrics and they are deprived from winter heavy clothes, according to Gehad al-Hadad’s mother.
This cemetery is empty completely from any soaps and it has no bathrooms and the detainee is deprived from water according to the prison’s administration’s will.
She said,” Of course, the visit is also banned, she added,” in addition to all forms of torture and beatings that would reach to bones’ breaking as well as insults.”
This is what is known for all Scorpion prisoners about disciplinary detention according to the testimonies of those who entered it and their families as well. These testimonies have been documented by human rights organizations.
She ended the post saying that, ”Gehad has been endorsed in one of these cells, he also suffers from general weakness and anemia that has reached critical levels, and no one knows to what extent he will be able to bear all of this sufferings after three years and a half in solitary confinement at the Scorpion cemetery.”
She also holds the prison’s administration, the prison’s authority and the minister of interior completely responsible for her son’s health and life. She also said that she calls for her right to check on her son and visit him to make sure of his safety.
Last week, the New York Times published a letter from Gehad al-Hadad that defends the Muslim Brotherhood’s beliefs and philosophy, the article tilted:”I am a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, not a terrorist”.
Last September, Human Rights Watch released a report titled: “We are in Tombs: Abuses in Egypt’s Scorpion Prison” which highlights how the Egyptian authorities routinely abuse inmates in ways that may have contributed to the death of some of them.
The notorious Scorpion Prison which is known as the “Scorpion Cemetery” is a maximum-security prison in Cairo that holds many political prisoners.
According to the 80-page report, “Staff at Scorpion Prison beat inmates severely, isolate them in cramped “discipline” cells, cut off access to families and lawyers, and interfere with medical treatment.”
In addition, prisoners are treated by the officers of Egypt’s Interior Ministry in a cruel and inhuman way that probably amounts to torture in some cases and violates basic international norms for the treatment of prisoners.
The abuse in Scorpion, where inmates are held in cells without beds or items for basic hygiene, has persisted with almost” no oversight from prosecutors and other watchdogs, behind a wall of secrecy kept in place by the Interior Ministry,”said the report.
Joe Stark, the deputy Middle-East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Scorpion Prison sits at the end of the state’s repressive pipeline, ensuring that political opponents are left with no voice and no hope.” He added,”Its purpose seems to be little more than a place to throw government critics and forget them.”
Scorpion prison holds about 1,000 prisoners, relatives estimate. They include most of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leadership, alleged members of the Islamic State extremist group, and various critics of al-Sisi’s government, including journalists and doctors.
Human Rights Watch called “Egypt’s Interior Ministry should immediately end arbitrary visit bans, ensure regular access to doctors and medical treatment, and provide prisoners with minimum necessities for hygiene and comfort.” It also called the Egyptian government to allow international detention monitors to visit Scorpion, and form an independent national committee with the authority to make snap visits to prisons and other detention sites and submit complaints to a special prosecutor.
Moreover, “The Egyptian public prosecution should investigate deaths in custody and charge those with command responsibility for Scorpion in connection with any acts of torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, “said the HRW.
Stork said, “Egypt’s detention system is overflowing with critics of the government.” He added, “Ending the abuses at Scorpion is a small step toward improving dire conditions across the country.”
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.”