Update: Hunger striking detainee Soltan admitted to intensive care

Political detainee Mohamed Soltan was admitted to the intensive care unit of Qasr al-Aini Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, after authorities from the Interior Ministry refused to allow him a medical stay on Monday.

Soltan’s condition has been rapidly deteriorating according to medical findings provided by his friends, family and support groups.

The prisoner solidarity group, “Al-Horreya lil Gedaan” (Freedom for the Brave) posted a statement on their Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, in which they claimed Soltan was transferred from his prison cell back to Qasr al-Aini’s intensive care unit on a stretcher — as he is unable to walk or push his own wheelchair.

The actions of the Interior Ministry have rendered Soltan “closer to a state of death than life,” the statement said, adding that his family asks for prayers and intercessions on his behalf.

A medical report published Monday by the Freedom for the Brave campaign said the health condition of Soltan, who has been on hunger strike for over 130 days, is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

A team of doctors from Qasr al-Aini hospital prepared the report, according to the campaign, after Soltan was referred to them on Monday for medical tests. 

According to the report, “The patient was admitted in bad shape, his vital signs [were] unstable, with his pulse at 110 (the normal is at 90), his blood pressure at 80 over 40 (the normal rate is 120/80), and his blood sugar level at 28 (the normal range is between 70 and 110).”

“He refused an injection of glucose and was only given a salt solution,” the report stated.

“The patient also suffers from clotting in the lungs and was given medication to improve his blood circulation. He is now experiencing blood poisoning due to the rising level of the medication in his blood, which increased his circulation and could possibly lead to internal bleeding,” the report added. 

According to Sarah Mohamed, a relative of Soltan’s, one of the doctors in Qasr al-Aini hospital told her that Soltan was referred to hospital after his condition deteriorated. Once there, the doctors found that his condition had worsened significantly.

He also told Mohamed that the doctors tried to keep Soltan in the hospital to monitor him more closely, but police refused and insisted he return to prison the same day. 

“When we visited Mohamed last Saturday, he was so pale. His blood circulation was recorded, it was at 10, while the normal range is between 1 and 1.5,” she told Mada Masr. “Some blue stains under his skin were visible all over his body, which is an indication of imminent internal bleeding.”

Mohamed added that Soltan could not control his wheelchair so others had to push him. He was also so weak that he had to be carried back and forth.

Soltan had to start using a wheelchair given his increasing fragility in the wake of his hunger strike. He had allowed himself water in the last six days. 

He has a medical history of clotting in the lungs. Police have repeatedly refused to transfer him to hospital for monitoring. 

A fact-finding committee formed by the government in the wake of the June 30 protests and ensuing violence declared in a press conference on Thursday that they visited Soltan in Tora prison and that he was returned to his cell after doctors ascertained that his vitals signs looked okay. The family denied this.

Soltan has been in jail since August 2013, in the wake of the government’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.

Police stormed his house looking for his father, Salah Soltan, who is known to be a Muslim Brotherhood leader. When the father was not found, police arrested Soltan and two of his friends instead, according to the family. Until today, he is being held without trial. Soltan started his hunger strike on January 16. 

He was studying in the US and only returned to Egypt to be with his sick mother, who is a cancer patient. 

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