The member organizations of the Article 55 Coalition have issued their monthly bulletin for September 2023, in which they documented six violations inside detention centers and prisons in Egypt.
The organizations affiliated with the Article 55 Coalition have issued their periodic monthly bulletin for October 2023, in which they documented six violations within Egyptian detention centers and prisons. The coalition stated that October was marked by flagrant violations and harassment against those seeking to submit endorsements for opposition presidential candidates Ahmed El Tantawi and Gamila Ismail. The violations included arbitrary arrests of officials and members of the El Tantawi campaign, as well as the mobilization of members from the Future of a Homeland party, loyal to the regime, in front of the public notary offices, which claimed technical issues to deny issuing the endorsements service to citizens, thereby rendering the electoral journey impossible for opposition candidates.
The bulletin also addressed the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in October, amidst the Egyptian regime’s failure to manage the crisis and its collusion in preventing the entry of humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing, despite it not being under Israeli control. Moreover, it reported on demonstrations organized by the Future of a Homeland party, supportive of El-Sisi, which saw an independent protest march to Tahrir Square in central Cairo, chanting “This is a real protest… not a delegation for anyone,” leading to the arrest of 42 individuals from Cairo and Alexandria, who were later charged with joining a terrorist group, vandalism, unlawful assembly, and committing a terrorist act.
Judicially, the bulletin notes the military governor’s ratification of the final sentence against student activist Moaz Al-Sharqawi, imposing a ten-year imprisonment and five years of probation after completing the sentence. This ratification rendered the judgment final and irreversible, leaving presidential pardon as the only recourse for altering or revoking the punishment.
The coalition also documented six other violations in prisons and detention facilities in Egypt during October 2023, including four deaths, pleas due to poor detention conditions leading to hunger strikes, and complaints of prolonged pre-trial detention amid health crises.
Article 55 Coalition believes that the conditions inside prisons and detention centers are not surprising, and they do not deviate from the general framework of how the Egyptian authorities handle the issue of detainees, especially political ones. It is a systematic approach rather than isolated individual violations, as promoted by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior.
The policy of impunity with which Egyptian authorities deal with human rights violators inside detention centers has encouraged and perpetuated these practices, making them part of the working method of the Egyptian Prisons Authority. There has been no evidence of any leadership or official being punished or even reprimanded despite documented violations that may have crossed the line.
The coalition stresses that these practices within Egyptian prisons and detention centers raise serious concerns about the fate of detainees, especially with the recent increase in the number of deaths within detention facilities and the deteriorating living conditions inside them.
The coalition calls for an investigation into these violations and the prosecution of those responsible in accordance with Egyptian and international law, the application of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the Egyptian Prison Regulations, and to cease their violations. The coalition also urges the provision of living conditions that are consistent with the human dignity of detainees.