Hunger striking detainees’ families accuse fact-finding committee of lying

A solidarity committee has accused the June 30 fact-finding committee of lying about the cases of hunger striking detainees Abdullah al-Shamy and Mohamed Soltan, after an official report stated Soltan was in good health and that Shamy had ended his hunger strike.

Both Soltan and Shamy were arrested in August last year in different contexts. Both started hunger strikes in January.

In its statement, the solidarity committee included a medical assessment of Soltan’s health by US Embassy physician Fatma Bayad, who visited the inmate 80 days into his hunger strike and stated that his weight had dropped from 120 to 78 kilograms.

Bayad added that four people had to help Soltan get on the weighing scales as he is no longer capable of standing or walking due to his frail health condition.

The medical report said that his blood pressure was recorded at 110/68. Soltan previously had two strokes due to a birth defect, causing physicians at Ohio Medical Center to recommend he take anti-stroke medication all his life. Bayad’s report stated that Soltan’s condition could be life-threatening due to his ongoing hunger strike.

Prison medics temporarily halted Soltan’s course of stroke medication, but resumed it after he began experiencing chest pains. The US physician added that the possibility of Soltan collapsing is high.

Bayad warmed that excess liquidity in the prisoner’s blood could also cause excessive bleeding from minor injuries. The committee statement added that during the last visit, Soltan had bruises over his body – a symptom Bayad warned about.

Shamy’s family meanwhile stated on Thursday that the fact-finding committee’s statement relied on a prison report claiming Shamy had stopped his hunger strike.

The families asked why the committee had not gone to Shamy himself for information. “How can the committee be sure of Shamy’s good health? And why did it say the medical check happened in the presence of his family, when that is a lie?”

The statement also denied that Shamy receives a visit every six days, adding that he has been in solitary confinement since May 15.

Soltan was arrested last August from his home with two friends, after he had returned to Egypt to be with his sick mother. Soltan’s family states that police were primarily looking for the Muslim Brotherhood leader Salah Soltan and when they did not find him, they arrested his son.

Shamy was arrested on August 14, 2013 while he was covering the dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in and was incarcerated for six months before his decision to go on hunger strike in January.

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