Public Prosecution inspection team finds conditions in Tora ‘adequate’ despite widespread prisoner accounts of abuse, medical negligence

Conditions inside Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison Complex are “adequate,” according to the findings of an inspection team assigned by the Public Prosecution.

According to a statement issued by the Public Prosecution, the inspection team visited Tora on Tuesday where they met 35 prisoners detained in a number of different cases and took their testimonies about the living conditions inside the prison. 

The inspection team, which was commissioned by Public Prosecutor Hamada al-Sawy, found of all the detention facilities adequate, including the prison cells, exercise facilities, the quality and variety of food provided, as well as the readiness of the prison hospital and its outpatient and pharmacy clinics to receive patients in normal and emergency circumstances.

According to the statement, the team also attended a class on religion given to detainees by a representative from Al-Azhar in one of the prison’s libraries.

The Public Prosecution’s brief statement made no mention of the widespread accounts of abuse, poor conditions of detention, and medical negligence made by prisoners in Tora for years, including most recently by activist and writer Alaa Abd El Fattah and attorney Mohamed al-Baqer. Both men submitted official reports to the prosecution with detailed testimony that described their abuse inside the maximum-security wing of Tora, known as Aqrab Prison, including repeated beatings and humiliation.

The Public Prosecutor also ignored longstanding and well-documented accounts of deteriorating health conditions and medical negligence inside Tora that have severely affected prisoners’ health, including that of former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who has spent more than 500 days in isolation and has been denied access to fresh air, exposure to the sun or time to exercise. Aboul Fotouh’s repeated appeals for medical care have gone largely unanswered by prison authorities even though has suffered two heart attacks in detention and his lawyer and family say his life is at risk.

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