Report Egypt: Detention watch 5 (ِAugust 2017)

Report Egypt: Detention watch 5 (ِAugust 2017)

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Following CfJ’s four reports on human rights violations against detainees in Egyptian detention places for the first seven months of 2017 (January and February, March and April, May, June and July)[1]; Detention Watch project proceeds in this issue to provide an analytical overview of the human rights situation in Egyptian detention places – formal and informal – during the month of August 2017; while holding the authorities accountable of their obligations mandated by law (Egyptian constitution, Egyptian criminal law, and international human rights treaties Egypt has signed).

The end objective of such periodic reports is to

  • inform national and international stakeholders of the ongoing conditions inside places of detention,
  • enable families of victims and detainees to factually establish claims of illegal and inhumane circumstances that are endured,
  • engage or demand engagement of authorities into a dialogue that can formulate coherent and consistent strategies and legislations that put an end to such violations,
  • support prevention of impunity of human rights violations in places of detention,
  • contribute to the transitional justice mechanisms that this country will or might employ at a later stage

The methodology of this activity primarily entailed monitoring and observing violations being reported formally and informally on a day-to-day basis. After collecting the primary data, the project team employed the verification tool; a step that is regrettably overlooked by many other human rights organizations reporting in the same field due to difficulties establishing contact, time consumption and risks associated. Authenticating the data collected is a crucial step to safeguard the credibility of the data presented, and to be able to legally hold the violators accountable with proof. Accordingly, it was imperative for Detention Watch to communicate with the families of each detainee who suffered a violation and verify all the information needed.  All the gathered data whether monitored or verified were finally compiled in this report with a contextual and statistical analysis; while shedding light on the challenges and limitations handled while working on the material.

Key findings that Detention Watch reached can be summarized as follows:

  • 61 incidents of violations in detention places were monitored in August 2017, directed at a total of 56 different detainees.
  • Out of those 61 cases, a 33% rate of enforced disappearance cases was recorded, 28% rate of medical negligence, 21% rate of torture, and 15% rate of medical negligence leading to death
  • AlAqrab Prison is the detention place with the highest number of violations reported across all of Egypt. 11.5% of the cases of medical negligence, torture and medical negligence leading to death violations took place inside Tora prison in August 2017.


  • The geographical spread of violations during the month of August is considered to be the widest since the start of 2017.
  • Out of the 61 cases monitored, 29 cases were verified (47.5% rate)
  • Prisons category come first with highest violations recorded – mainly medical negligence, then torture; followed by state security premises (informal detention place) where enforced disappearance and torture scored highest.
  • Geographically, Tanta governorate sets the highest records of violations, followed by ElBehira.
  • The most common violations observed in the data verified are Enforced Disappearance, followed by torture, then Medical Negligence.
  • Detention places with highest records of violations can be viewed in the following order: AlAqrab Prison (Cairo), then Tanta Public Prison (Gharbia), Tora Prison (Cairo) and Wadi ElNatroun Prison (ElBehira)
  • Nine cases of medical negligence lead to death of the detainee. When compared to previous months; this is the highest record of deaths due to medical negligence that has been recorded since beginning of 2017.
  • Enforced disappearance periods –for those who are not still under disappearance – range from less than a week (50% of the total number of cases), then the 1 week – 1 month range (17%), and then the 1 month – 3 months period (33% of the total).
  • In August, torture took place mostly inside state security premises across Egypt (ElBehira, Cairo, 6th of October, and Kafr ElSheikh); a wide geographical spread that is alarming and indiscriminate.
  • The two prisons with highest number of medical negligence violations are Tora and Wadi ElNatroun Prison, both inside Cairo. After them comes AlAqrab Prison (Cairo) and Tanta Public Prison (Tanta).
  • Detainees facing medical negligence have spent from an average of 12 months (1 year) under arrest; which showing an underlying positive correlation between time spent in detention and possibilities of deteriorating health conditions that are faced with negligence.
  • The age group facing the highest number of violations monitored is the middle age group (31-50), followed by the youth group (16-30), then finally the elderly (above 50)
  • More than three quarters of the victims of violations (76%) didn’t go into court yet; are held pre-trial. The rest remain post-trial detainees
  • Average Number of months spent in detention since arrest is 18 months (almost 1.5 years) per detainee/victim of violation.

[1] Link referencing Detention Watch Jan and Feb, Detention Watch March and April, Detention Watch May, Detention Watch June and July

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