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Egypt: Article 55 Coalition documents seven abuses in prisons in November 2023

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The Article 55 Coalition has documented seven different violations within detention centers and prisons in Egypt in the periodic report covering the period from November 1 to November 30, 2023.

 

The Coalition organizations pointed out that as November 2023 approached, preparations for the presidential elections continued within Egypt, while the Israeli war on neighboring Gaza continued. Additionally, Egyptian authorities continued the arbitrary detention of Egyptians who had demonstrated in support of Palestinians in October 2023.

 

The report also mentioned the ongoing detention of members of the campaign of the potential former candidate, Ahmed Tantawy, resulting in the referral of some of them to trial, including Tantawy and his campaign coordinator, Mohamed Abu al-Diyar.

 

Furthermore, the report addressed the periodic review by the United Nations Committee Against Torture of Egypt’s file concerning torture crimes. During the review, committee members discussed several practices, to which representatives of the Egyptian government were asked for responses. These practices included arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, and mistreatment, especially in the new Badr prison complex.

 

The Article 55 Coalition organizations identified seven violations within prisons and other detention centers in Egypt during November 2023, including two deaths, hunger strikes due to poor detention conditions, and four appeals due to deliberate denial of healthcare.

 

In light of the above, the organizations in the Article 55 Coalition believe that the conditions within prisons and detention centers are not surprising. They argue that these conditions are consistent with the overall approach of the Egyptian authorities towards detainees, especially political ones. The systematic nature of these practices is intentional and not merely isolated violations, as claimed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior.

 

The policy of impunity adopted by the Egyptian authorities towards human rights violators within detention centers has encouraged and fueled such practices, turning them into a modus operandi for the Egyptian prison authority. No leadership or official has been punished or even reprimanded despite documented and verified violations that may have exceeded acceptable limits.

 

Therefore, the organizations in the Article 55 Coalition affirm that the practices inside Egyptian prisons and detention centers raise serious concerns about the fate of detainees. This is especially true given the increasing number of deaths within detention centers recently and the deteriorating living conditions within them.

 

The Article 55 Coalition organizations call for an investigation into these violations, holding those responsible accountable in accordance with both Egyptian and international law. They urge the adherence to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Egyptian Prison Regulations, and the cessation of violations, while ensuring living conditions that befit the humanity of the detainees.

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