Egypt: CFJ documents fifth death in custody in 2023
By: Committee for Justice
Geneva: March 8, 2023
The Committee for Justice has documented the fifth death case in 2023 of a detainee inside a detention center in Egypt, Ragai Wafai (40 years old), a psychiatrist, who died in Gamasa Police Station in Dakahlia Governorate due to medical neglect and poor prison conditions.
Medical negligence and poor detention conditions:
CFJ stated that poor conditions of detention and medical negligence led to the death of a psychiatric consultant, who was being held pending case investigations after a decision to imprison him was issued by the Public Prosecution.
A source from the Egyptian Medical Syndicate indicated that Wafai was detained for interrogation in connection with a report of a medical error that led to death submitted by the family of a patient who was being treated for addiction in a hospital he owned in Dakahlia. The source added that the Public Prosecution detained the deceased doctor in custody, and charged him with medical error, assuming there was a mistake pending the issuance of forensic medical reports for the deceased patient.
During his detention, Wafai felt very sick last Sunday evening and was transferred to Gamasa hospital, where he suffered a severe breathing difficulty and high levels of blood pressure and sugar, CFJ reported. The doctors at the hospital tried to transfer him to Belqas hospital because it has better equipment, but his heart stopped and he died on Monday.
Deaths in custody since the beginning of 2023:
The Committee for Justice had previously documented four deaths of detainees inside detention centers in Egypt:
1- Detainee Mahmoud Abd al-Shafi al-Didamoni, a 42-year-old detainee inside the Zagazig police station in Egypt. He worked as a blacksmith in the village of Bani Amer in the Zagazig Center, and he was imprisoned pending case No. 2133 of 2021, the Zagazig Center in connection with charges of a political nature.
2-Detainee Sameh Tolba Saleh Al-Zeq (53 years old), died in the same police station, due to the deterioration of his health as a result of his two-month detention after the end of a two-year prison sentence against him.
3- Detainee, Saad Mahmoud Abdel-Ghani Khedr, who died in February in Borg Al-Arab prison west of Alexandria due to medical neglect and poor prison conditions. He was arrested on October 28, 2015, and was subjected to many violations in his prison, including preventing him from receiving regular treatment, which led to the deterioration of his health.
4- Detainee, Mohamed El-Sayed Morsi (52 years old), who was tortured to death at the National Security headquarters in Damietta.
The Committee for Justice has documented 1,168 deaths inside detention facilities and prisons in Egypt since 2013, through its Justice Watch Archive platform, which is the first and largest platform for monitoring violations in detention facilities in Egypt.