Tora complex prisoners to be examined by doctors, after reports of abuse

Tuesday 15-12-2015 03:29 PM
Tora complex prisoners to be examined by doctors, after reports of abuse

Egyptian army soldiers guard with armoured personnel carriers (APC) in front of the main gate of Torah prison on the outskirts of Cairo, August 22, 2013. Reuters/Louafi Larbi


CAIRO, Dec. 15 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's interior minister approved sending out two medical convoys to the Tora prison complex and to three police stations in Cairo and inmates and detainees are set to be medically examined.

A medical convoy including 13 doctors has already been sent to Tora prison on Monday and will continue to medically examine inmates through Thursday, the ministry said on Tuesday in a statement published on Facebook.

This comes after numerous reports of abuse inside the prison complex, especially its Al-Aqrab maximum security section, which the interior ministry has denied to Aswat Masriya.

Another convoy is going to examine detainees in the Marg, Matariya and Ain Shams police stations, the ministry said, without providing details on how many doctors there are or how long the mission will last.

The convoys will prescribe medication to the prisoners and detainees.

This stems from the ministry's strategy which aims to "uphold the values of human rights."

But conditions described inside Al-Aqrab prison specifically, and places of detention in general have been placed under scrutiny recently.

In August, Al Jamaa Islamiya's leading figure Essam Derbala died in the same Al Aqrab prison. His Islamist group claimed that he was denied access to essential medicine. 

Salma Sahloub, whose brother is in Al-Aqrab told Aswat Masriya last week that she has not been able to visit him for the past two months. Describing Khaled, her 23-year-old brother, she said the last time she saw him, he "was old and unable to walk or stand without leaning against the wall."

The visit lasted two minutes and since, she has not seen him but in the last time he spoke to his lawyers, the young man who suffers from peptic ulcers and has inflammations in his bones said he was "dying" and that his "stomach was tearing apart."

Last week, the families of inmates in Al-Aqrab prison claimed in a statement that some prisoners initiated a hunger strike but prison authorities responded by raiding their cells, shackling them and beating them so intensely that five of them ended up in an intensive care unit.

On Thursday, civil society organisations held a press conference and talked about detention conditions.  

They said they were able to document the deaths of 37 people as a result of torture in custody over the past 11 months. The figure is lower than a previously announced number by one NGO but with almost no access to journalists and rights defenders, deaths in custody are not well-documented.

In a report issued early in September, El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence documented 56 deaths inside Egypt's detention facilities, 57 torture cases, 44 cases of medical negligence and 38 cases of enforced disappearances in August alone.

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