A Brotherhood prisoner died in Qasr al-Aini Hospital on Tuesday from what officials allege is a pre-existing medical condition that progressed naturally, while lawyers claim that intentional medical neglect on the part of authorities is to blame.
Hosny Diab was reportedly admitted to Tora Prison Hospital on August 25 with liver issues, according to privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Assistant to the Interior Minister for Media and Public Relations General Abu Bakr Abdel Kerim told Al-Masry Al-Youm that heart failure was the cause of Diab’s death, denying allegations that the inmate died as a result of negligence or inadequate medical treatment.
Brotherhood-affiliated lawyer Khaled al-Komy, however, told Islam Today that Diab had liver cancer and that, in the last few days, his condition deteriorated severely after the prison administration stopped dispensing his prescribed medication. Diab had been detained pending investigations since 2013 and had yet to face trial.
Similar allegations against authorities have spiked recently, with five people dying in detention in the last two months after being arrested on politically related charges. Most of the suspects were reported to be members of the banned Islamist group Jama’a al-Islamiya, with one being affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Among those who died was Essam Debala, a leader within the Jama’a, who was, according to the group, denied repeated requests for hospitalization and urgently required medical care while he was imprisoned, the BBC reported.
Derbala’s death was preceded by that of Farid Ismail, a leading Brotherhood figure and former parlimentarian who died in the same prison, and whose family also held prison authorities responsible.
Reports issued by Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence suggest that the recent spate of jail and prison-related deaths may be the result of deliberate neglect on the part of authorities when it comes to Islamist inmates, as well as the poor services and infrastructure of prisons and jails generally.
After a visit to the maximum-security Aqrab sector of the Tora Prison complex, a facility that witnessed several of these deaths recently, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) reported that allegations against the prison have been blown out of proportion.
Inmates’ families, however, have called the notorious prison out on numerous occasions for what they allege are poor conditions and intentional neglect and abuse of prisoners. These relatives have alleged that they have been denied visits, and that food and medication are not provided to their incarcerated family members.