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ARTICLE 55 Coalition Organizations Issue Monthly Bulletin on Conditions in Detention Centers and Prisons in Egypt for January 2024

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[Geneva], [11 February 2024] – The Article 55 coalition, comprising various human rights organizations, highlights significant developments in Egypt’s human rights and political landscape during January 2024. The coalition sheds light on legislative changes, judicial decisions, and disturbing conditions within detention facilities, prompting a call for accountability and adherence to international standards.


Legislative Developments:

In January 2024, the Egyptian House of Representatives passed two laws with profound implications. Firstly, an amendment to Military Justice Law No. 25/1966 granted expanded powers to the military judiciary. Additionally, amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure introduced a new system of criminal courts, allowing both the accused and the Public Prosecution to appeal judgments before “second-degree” criminal courts, in accordance with Article 240 of the 2014 Constitution.


Judicial Decisions:

The Nasr City Misdemeanor Court handed a suspended one-year prison sentence to Yahya Hussein Abdel Hadi, founder of the Civil Democratic Movement, for possessing publications and spreading false news. In a separate case, the Amiri Misdemeanor Court sentenced a TikToker to two months in prison and a 500-pound fine for criticizing high prices in a video.


Political Developments:

Former potential presidential candidate Ahmed Tantawi announced the intention to launch a political party, overcoming legal hurdles by collecting the required 5,000 power of attorney signatures. However, Mohamed Abu Al-Diyar, the party’s legal adviser, reported harassment and security chases targeting individuals supporting the initiative.


Detention Facilities and Prisons:

The coalition documented several violations within detention facilities and prisons in Egypt. Notably, four deaths occurred in the Badr prison complex, accompanied by distress calls highlighting deliberate deprivation of healthcare. Skin diseases erupted in New Valley Prison due to the denial of personal hygiene tools, and Borg El Arab prison detainees complained of abuse by officials and issues with the family visitation system.


Coalition’s Response:

The Article 55 coalition condemns the systematic nature of these violations, emphasizing that they are not isolated incidents but part of a broader pattern in the Egyptian authorities’ treatment of detainees, particularly politicians. The coalition expresses serious concerns about the increasing number of deaths and deteriorating living conditions in detention facilities.

The coalition urgently calls for a thorough investigation into these violations and demands accountability for those responsible, both under Egyptian and international law. The organizations stress the importance of adhering to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Egyptian Prison Regulations, urging an immediate halt to the documented violations. Furthermore, the coalition calls for the provision of humane living conditions for detainees.

The Article 55 coalition remains committed to advocating for the rights and dignity of all individuals in detention, promoting transparency, and holding accountable those responsible for human rights violations.

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