Assistant to the Interior Minister General Abu Bakr Abdel Rahim alleged that detained student Esraa al-Taweel has been receiving medical treatment, contradicting statements from both Taweel’s family and the Doctors Syndicate.
Taweel was arrested on June 1 and has been detained for over 150 days on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization and disseminating false information. Her family was not informed of her detainment, and her whereabouts were unknown for weeks until she was located in prison.
Taweel’s family has repeatedly stated that Taweel has not received medical care for an injury she sustained while participating in a protest commemorating the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, when she was shot in the back and suffered nerve damage as a result.
Abdel Rahim, however, stated that, “Esraa al-Taweel has been medically examined and has been receiving physiotherapy since October 20 of last year,” during a phone-in on the CBC show Hena al-Asema, hosted by Lamis al-Hadidi.
Abdel Rahim added that medical care is an essential right for all prisoners. “The ministry works to provide full medical care, and this is something the prison administration is responsible for,” he said.
Taweel recently appeared in court sobbing and begging for medical attention after her detention was renewed for an additional 45 days. Pictures of Taweel crying and supporting herself on crutches went viral on social media, as users condemned her detention and treatment in prison.
On Twitter, the hashtags #EsraaTaweel and #FreedomforEsraaTaweel trended in Egypt, and the Freedom for the Brave campaign published photos of Taweel with the caption “Down with state of oppression” on Facebook.
Taweel was temporarily confined to a wheelchair in 2013 due to her injuries, and her family has stated that prison authorities have denied Taweel physiotherapy despite her repeated requests.
Her family also stated that without proper medical treatment, Taweel could become paralyzed.
The Doctors Syndicate released a statement on Tuesday following Taweel’s appearance in court, asking to provide Taweel with medical treatment.
The syndicate previously submitted a request to the public prosecutor to assess Taweel’s condition on October 19, but according to the statement released today, it received no response.