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From neglect to calamity: CFJ report documents thousands of violations against detainees in prisons and detention centres in Egypt
Believing in the freedom to circulate information, and to shed light on the suffering of detainees in prisons and detention centres in Egypt, The Committee for Justice (CFJ) has issued its new semi-annual report, under the title “From Neglect to Calamity”, in which it has monitored 4,664 violations inside prisons and detention centres in Egypt from January to June 2020.
An analytical view of the human rights situation in Egypt
This report is a continuation of the series of periodic reports issued by CFJ on human rights violations against detainees in Egyptian detention centres – both official and unofficial.
It provides an analytical view of the human rights situation in Egypt during the first half of 2020, with a focus on the circumstances and consequences of the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in detention facilities, and its repercussions on the rights of detainees and their families.
The ultimate goal of this report is to inform the concerned local and international authorities about what is happening in Egyptian prisons and detention centres, and to shed light on aspects of the service, administrative and engineering structures that increase the likelihood of the spread of the epidemic among detainees and prisoners.
The report also aims to raise awareness about patterns of practices and administrative decisions that constitute repeated violations of the rights of detainees and prisoners, and affect their human and health conditions, making them easy prey for diseases and epidemics.
Commenting on the report, CFJ Executive Director Ahmed Mefreh said that the first six months of 2020 are among the worst periods for detainees and those held in Egyptian prisons and detention centers for decades.
In addition to the systematic violations against them, including medical neglect, torture, and poor conditions of detention centres, Covid-19 has exacerbated their suffering, especially with the Egyptian regime’s implementation of the policy of “indifference” in the face of the virus.
The policy has contributed to the infection of hundreds of detainees with the virus, the neglect of those in need of urgent health care, and the ban on visits and correspondence with prisoners. The result is more than 4,600 violations, which highlights the grim reality of the situation there.
- The report monitored 4,664 violations within 95 detention facilities, of which 12.5%, equivalent to 586 violations, were documented during the preparation of the report.
- Foremost among the violations are poor detention conditions (including denial of health care, ill-treatment, and isolation), with 2605 violations, followed by violations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty with 1266 cases, then enforced disappearance with 619 cases, then torture with 106 cases, including physical and psychological torture, in addition to 68 deaths inside detention facilities.
- Concerning the 68 deaths that the CFJ monitored inside detention facilities, the report showed that they included 10 cases of unjust executions, 51 deaths as a result of deprivation of health care, 3 deaths as a result of torture, in addition to four deaths as a result of poor conditions of detention. The months of February and June witnessed the highest number of deaths, with 15 and 13 deaths, respectively.
- The percentage of violations occurring in the months of May and June – during the peak of the pandemic – was 20.8% (972) and 32% (1499) respectively, of the total recorded violations, according to the report.
- The Tora Prisons Complex, the Tenth of Ramadan First Police Headquarters, and the Nasr City First Police Headquarters came at the top of 95 places in which violations were detected – during the reporting period – with 618, 285, and 210 violations respectively. The three are located in Cairo and eastern governorates, representing about 23.8% of all violations.
- Among the violations recorded in the report, 767 violations (16%) were for victims of the age group (36-60 years), compared to 350 violations (7.5%) for young victims (18-35 years old). For the minors category, 61 violations were recorded, while 167 violations among the elderly (60+ years) have been recorded.
- According to professions and jobs, the report recorded a greater number of violations against students (192 violations) compared to 91 violations of the rights of party / political / human rights activists, 88 violations against lawyers, 72 violations against doctors, 69 violations against journalists/media professionals, in addition to four violations against nurses and ambulance crew members.
The English version of the report is still under design, this is a pre-design draft