Egypt: Prisoners Suffer Horrific Detention Conditions

Deaths in Egyptian prisons and detention centres are increasing significantly, yet the Egyptian authorities deny any international inspection of prison conditions, leaving detainees in life-threatening detention conditions.

Security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, including through beatings, electric shocks, suspension in contorted positions and indefinite solitary confinement in dire conditions.

Since 2014, hundreds of detainees died in custody following medical complications and reports of torture. Authorities failed to investigate the causes and circumstances of these deaths.

Conditions in prisons and other detention facilities remained cruel and inhuman, with prisoners reporting overcrowding, poor ventilation, and lack of hygiene and access to sanitation facilities and adequate food, drinking water, fresh air and exercise.

Prisoners’ Deaths in Numbers

Four prisoners died in August 2022 amid suspicious circumstances, rising the total number of those died since the start of the year to 29.

Last July, seven detainees died in Egyptian prisons as a result of torture and deliberate medical negligence.

Prisoners Face ‘A Slow Death’

The New York Times published a report on the “slow death” of prisoners of conscience in Egyptian prisons and detention centres, who are held in “filthy cells, subjected to routine torture and denied lifesaving medications.”

The newspaper discussed the story of the detainee, Ahmed Abdelnabi, 61, who was tortured during interrogation, beaten and threatened with the rape of his wife. He was also denied medication for his diabetes, heart conditions, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure despite repeated requests.

The newspaper added that the detainee’s lawyer and family members confirmed that during the first 40 days of detention, Abdelnabi and his cellmate got no food, surviving on scraps of bread the prisoner next door passed through a hole.

60,000 Political Prisoners

Egypt now holds some 60,000 political prisoners. That amounts to about half of the total jail population, which a government official put at about 120,000 in October 2021.

In this regard, Global Rights Watch (GRW) calls on the Egyptian authorities to investigate the deaths of hundreds of prisoners and to ensure accountability for the crime of torture, and to bring redress to victims and survivors.

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