Anas Mousa denied treatment and placed in solitary confinement.
Geneva 7 June 2017
The Committee for Justice calls upon Egyptian State authorities to respect their prisoners’ right to health. States only have the right to deprive a person from her liberty as punishment, anything that exceeds this, such as denying a persom access to adequate healthcare is a violation to her right to health and life. 24 years old Anas Mousa is yet another detainee whose health and life is at the mercy of the state. During a protest, Anas was shot in his right eye causing severe damage to his eye and a fracture in his jaw, and due to unhealthy detention conditions and delays in performing a second surgery, his health has deteriorated and his life is at risk.
During a protest near Tahir square on 6 October 2013, Anas Mousa was shot in his right eye. The shot lodged inside his eye and caused a fracture in his jaw. He underwent an operation in December 2013 as the first step of his treatment process with a second operation scheduled for six months after the first. However, he was arrested on 1 June 2014, charged with protesting and belonging to a banned group, and is currently serving a five years sentence. After his arrest, he was not allowed to have the second operation he needed. Even though, from 2014 to January 2017, he did frequent outside hospitals but only for examinations and not adequate treatment. This delay to provide proper care led to rotting and infection of the wound that reached the bones. The area surrounding a slat that was inserted by doctors in his first operation under his right eye to support it also rotted and inflamed. This infection, if left untreated, will reach his brain and put his life at risk.
In 2016, Anas’ family obtained a permission from the South Zagazig Prosecution to have Anas treated in a private specialized hospital following the recommendation of the doctors who examined him. He was moved to the Specialized Hospital for Accidents and Emergencies on 1 December 2016. Preparations were underway for Anas to have his operation when he was suddenly removed from the hospital, after less than a week. He was sent to Borg Al Arab prison in Alexandria for two months and was forbidden from receiving any visits from his family.
He was only returned in March 2017 to Zagazig General Prison to take his exams. On 1 April 2017, the family obtained again a permission from the South Zagazig Prosecution for Anas to be moved to a specialized private hospital and treated, but again instead of treating him, he was moved shortly after to Manya Prison.
Without regard to his injury and deteriorating health, when he was returned to Zagazig General Prison in the beginning of May 2017, Anas was put in solitary confinement. For a month, he stayed in an insect infested, poorly ventilated cell that he was not allowed to leave except for his visits twice a month. The denial of treatment and the horrid detention conditions led him to go on a hunger strike that lasted for three weeks and ended on 23 May due to his family’s pleading. During his strike, he was brought out of his solitary cell when he lost consciousness and put on IV before being returned to his cell. The prison administration prevented the family during the period of his solitary confinement from sending him any medication. The administration claimed that they have it, but Anas never received it. His hunger strike coupled with his detention conditions worsened his already deteriorating health.
The Committee for Justice welcomes the steps taken by the General Attorney Office to investigate the matter under number 2094 in 23 May 2017 and obtain the detainee’s medical reports that the family was not allowed to view. However, yet again instead of responding to demands to treat the detainee, he has been moved once more on 28 May 2017 to Manya Prison for no apparent reason.
The Egyptian constitution guarantees the right to health to every citizen in article 18. In article 56, the constitution affirms that a prison is a place of correction and rehabilitation and that actions inconsistent with human dignity or which endanger human health shall be prohibited.
In general comment no.14 on article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Egypt ratified, “States are under the obligation to respect the right to health by refraining from denying or limiting equal access for all persons, including prisoners or detainees.”
Whether this denial of healthcare is deliberate or caused by incompetence of state authorities, the later are under legal and moral obligation to cease their interfering and allow Anas to be treated. They may have the right to detain him, but they don’t have the right to endanger his life.