52,000 inmates, relatives on hunger strike in Egypt: Panel

They are demanding the release of political detainees and an end to torture and abuse in jail

52,000 inmates, relatives on hunger strike in Egypt: Panel

World Bulletin/News Desk

Around 52,000 people, including 20,000 prisoners, are on hunger strike in, according to an independent committee following up the protest.

In a statement on Sunday, the committee said around 20,000 prisoners in 113 detention centers across Egypt are on hunger strike.

It added that 32,000 of their family members and relatives have joined the hunger strike as a sign of solidarity.

The committee described the move as "the world's largest collective protest."

The prisoners, who launched their hunger strike on Friday, are demanding the release of Egypt's political detainees and putting detention centers under international supervision.

They are also demanding an end to all forms of torture and abuse inside detentions.

The committee mourned one inmate who died in a northern Egypt jail on Saturday from angina pectoris after allegedly being beaten by policemen inside his prison cell.

"The second uprising inside the prisons, which started on May 30, will last until next Thursday," it said.

"The uprising can only be halted when the authorities meet the demands of the prisoners," added the committee.

An Interior Ministry official, however, denied claims about rights violations inside the prisons.

"Policemen always seek to apply the law to everybody without discrimination," Ayman Helmi, the head of the Interior Ministry's Media Division, told AA.

"Propagated reports about denying inmates water and power are baseless lies," he said.

"We abide by human rights in all jails," Helmi added.

There are no accurate figures on the number of people jailed for opposing the current army-backed authorities since the ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army in July.

However, rights groups and the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy put the number at 22,000.

Egypt's military-backed government denies the presence of any "political" prisoners, insisting that the thousands arrested since Morsi's ouster face criminal charges.

Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group, killing hundreds and rounding up thousands.

 

Last Mod: 01 Haziran 2014, 14:52
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