Egypt rights council under fire over prison conditions

State-run council denies any 'systematic torture' at notorious Al-Aqrab prison

Egypt rights council under fire over prison conditions

World Bulletin / News Desk

A report by Egypt’s state-run rights council denying prisoner abuses at one of the country’s most notorious prisons has sparked outrage from rights activists.

A delegation from the National Council for Human Rights recently visited southern Cairo’s Al-Aqrab prison, following reports about torture and medical negligence in detention.

Following the visit, the council’s secretary-general, Mohamed Fayek, denied any “systematic torture” inside the prison, describing complaints filed by Muslim Brotherhood leaders about abuses as “untrue”.

In a report, the state-run council insisted that Brotherhood leaders held in the prison were receiving a “proper medical treatment”.

Ammar al-Beltagui, the son of detained Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagui, denounced the council’s report as “invalid”.

“[The report] contradicts the real situation in the prison, which is full of massive abuses,” Ammar told Anadolu Agency.

Noha Daader, the wife of detained Islamist leader Essam Sultan, called on the international community to intervene to end the “deteriorating conditions” in Egyptian prisons.

“The report did not explain how many detainees lost their weight in a short period, or why many prisoners died inside Al-Aqrab prison,” she said in a statement.

Writing on his Facebook page, rights activist Khaled Abdel-Hamid called on the council’s members “to resign”.

- Unfair

Madiha Qorqor, the daughter of imprisoned Islamist leader Magdi Qorqor, described the council’s findings as “untrue”.

“My father has been hospitalized due to the bad treatment at prison,” she told Anadolu Agency. “Families of the prisoner have never expected the council – which was appointed by the authorities – to be fair.”

Salma Ashraf of Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the council’s report was “full of contradictions”.

“They say they never received complaints about torture, though the fact is that [some] prisoners had died of torture or medical negligence,” she said.

In recent weeks, several Islamists have died in prison, the latest of whom was Essam Derbala, a leading member of the Gamaa Islamiya group.

Egypt has been dogged by turmoil since the military ousted and imprisoned Mohamed Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader – after the 2013 coup.

According to Human Rights Watch, a total of 95 detainees died in Egyptian prisons last year alone.

Last Mod: 06 Ekim 2015, 09:46
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