A-Aqrab prison in Egypt is the scariest and most guarded prison in Egypt. It has been built in1993 as a fortress with a fence over seven meters high, guard towers with 24 – day surveillance cameras and an armored gate from outside and inside.
The prison is divided into four buildings and contains 320 cells. The cell space is very narrow at 6 square meters. With overcrowding, two or three prisoners are usually held in one cell.
Human Rights Watch reports based on parents’ interviewed testimony “ said that there are no beds in the cells, only concrete terraces high above the ground intended for sleep, and most residents explained that the prisoners had no bed to sleep on.
There are multiple methods of torture in the prison, starting from hanging prisoner in the ceiling for long hours, electrocution and sexual assault. Humanitarian organizations say that prisoners are beaten, stabbed, harassed and even raped and that conditions in this prison are completely contrary to prisoners’ rights. This torture is compounded by the denial of medication and hospitalization in addition to isolation in cramped “discipline” cells, cut off access to families and lawyers. The most prominent detainees are political activists and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to a former prison warden, the prison is designed so that whoever enters it never gets out of it.
There have been several deaths in Al-Aqrab Prison due to poor healthy conditions and medical neglect, including the death of Dr. Isam Al-Aryan, Dr. Amr Abu Khalil and Farid Ismail (in 2015 two days after he was hospitalized), as well as Nabil Almoghrabi and other persons who were denied medication and hospitalization.
According to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights, there has been recently a steady increase in the number of hunger strikers, in conjunction with the prohibition of prisoners from their basic rights, inhuman conditions of detention, which do not guarantee the fulfillment of the minimum legitimate rights of prisoners.
The strike is a natural reaction to the continued repeated violations of prisoner’s rights by the authority, in conjunction with the continued disregard for the tragic conditions of the prisoners, which have worsened over time.
A message from prisoners was, recently, leaked through a rights organization, in which prisoners appealed to international community to intervene in order to alleviate their suffering after despair led them to set their cells on fire. Some of them were burned. However, the massive strike was met with indignation, beating and isolation by the authority.
More than 100 human rights organizations had called on the international community and the Human Rights Council to intervene quickly to stop such violations and take bold action against Egypt. They had held members of the international community responsible for supporting efforts to establish a monitoring and reporting mechanism for the Human Rights Council with regard to the situation in Egypt. They stressed that Egypt’s disregard for human rights would not continue to be ignored or accepted.