Rights organizations express their concern regarding testimonies of torture of prisoners in Abu Zaabal, call for an immediate investigation and repeat their request for permission to visit prisons and meet with prisoners
The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the torture and collective punishments taking place in Egyptian prison, foremost the incidents that took place last week in Liman II (ward B) of Abu Zaabal prison complex. The incident in Abu Zaabal was not the first, since some of the undersigned organizations received reports of torture taking place over the last few weeks in Borg El Arab and Tora prisons.
A number of the undersigned organizations had received information of cases of torture and degrading treatment of political prisoners in Liman II of Abu Zaabal prison complex indicating that masked formations of central security forces broke into the cells on the 19th of March 2015, aggressed the prisoners with clubs and police dogs as well as used tear gas resulting in injuries and fainting among political prisoners. Prison forces then took 15 prisoners from their cells, tortured them for three hours in front of the rest of the prisoners, stripping them of their clothes, forcing them to verbally abuse themselves and then transferred them to disciplinary solitary cells.
Among those held in solitary confinement according to information received by the undersigned organizations include Abdelrahman Tarek, Mostafa Shehata, Belal Madawi (injured), Mahmud Ahmed Sayed (injured), Omar Mohamed Morsi (injured) and Mahmud Atef (injured). Also journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada, in pretrial detention for more than 450, during which he was constantly subjected to degrading treatment and torture, began a hunger strike protesting his continued imprisonment and his maltreatment in prison.
Based on this information the undersigned organizations demand the following:
- An immediate investigation in the violations committed against prisoners in Abu Zaabal prison, taking into considerations that those violations constitute practices of torture, cruel and degrading treatment and punishment, all of which have no statutes of limitations according to the Egyptian constitution and international conventions endorsed by the Egyptian government without reservations.
- We call upon the board of the medical syndicate and the National Council for Human Rights to undertake an immediate visit to Abu Zaabal prison to investigate the condition of aggressed prisoners and provide the necessary medical care to those injured among them.
- We also demand that human rights organizations be granted access to visit prisoners and examine prison conditions, noting that previous requests have been either ignored or rejected.
Finally, while we reconfirm that the practice of torture is a political decision and equally needs a political decision to be stopped, we hold the Ministry of Interior and the prison department responsible for the life and safety of prisoners held in their prisons.
Signatories (in alphabetical order)
- Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
- Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Center for Women Legal Aid
- Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
- El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
- Hisham Mubarak Law Center
- National Community for Human Rights and Law
- Nazra for Feminist Studies