Political prisoners report poor conditions and torture

A number of detainees — mostly arrested on charges related to the new protest law —and their lawyers have highlighted the mistreatment of prisoners in Egypt, including poor conditions, withholding of vital medication, torture and sexual assault.

During a court appearance on Sunday, former Parliamentarian Essam Sultan, who is in jail for insulting the judiciary, said he is being subjected to torture in prison and is suffering from the cold conditions, only being permitted to wear an under shirt. Sultan also said that during his 16-day incarceration, he was only given dirty water and no food.

Mahmoud Belal, a lawyer at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, posted on his personal Twitter account that a group of young detainees in court Sunday reported they are being tortured and electrocuted. Belal said that police officers threatened the detainees with torture in front of the lawyers and that the prosecution refused to intervene. He added that the prosecution is not allowing lawyers to document the violations against detainees.

Privately owned daily newspaper Al-Shorouk published on Friday the account of activist Amr Medhat, who was arrested on January 25. Medhat recounted being randomly beaten by officers, and having to bribe them to have access to his lawyer.

Lawyer Malek Adly has been vocal on social media about the case of April 6 Youth Movement member Kamal Saeed, who was arrested in a coffee shop with a group of young men. Adly says Saeed’s health is deteriorating in detention due to a heart condition that he suffers from, which the prison doctor has refused to provide medication for. Adly also says that the prosecution has authorized moving Saeed to another hospital twice, but prison authorities refused.

Additionally, pro-Morsi groups have claimed on social media that the women arrested from Al-Azhar University are being subjected to sexual assaults and virginity tests.

Thousands have been arrested since the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi from power in July. The newly passed constitution states that those detained “shall be treated in a manner that preserves human dignity, and may not be tortured, terrorized, coerced or physically or morally harmed.” It also states that the places of detention shall be humanely and hygienically appropriate.

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