April 6 activists’ health worsens in prison: spox
Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Douma - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Doma have received “adverse selective treatment,” causing their health to worsen, spokesperson of April 6 Mohamed Kamal said Sunday.

“The temperature inside the cells of Tora Prison is 20 degrees higher than outside,” Kamal told The Cairo Post, adding that Adel has suffered high blood pressure, Maher gets dizzy spells and Doma’s digestive system problems have been aggravated.

The administration of Tora Prison approved that the detainees’ families bring them fans, but when they did, the administration refused to allow the fans into their cells, Kamal said. He added that the prison also refused to allow doctors to examine them.

After a lawyer filed a lawsuit against the April 6 Youth Movement, Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned April 6 Youth Movement on April 28 for “spreading chaos and threatening national security.”

Treatment in prison is “extremely poor” and visits by their families are widely restricted, Kamal added.

Sayed el-Masry, a member of April 6 and a photojournalist for Yaqeen News Network (YNN), was acquitted Sunday, but is yet to be released from Abu Zabaal Prison, Yehia Khalaf, head of YNN told The Cairo Post.

Ahmed Ziyada, also a photojournalist and member of the movement, still faces trial and remains in Abu Zabaal Prison. They are being tried in separate cases, but they were arrested only one day apart in December while covering Al-Azhar student protests on the same charges of “illegal assembly and sabotaging public properties”.

Kamal said Ziyada and Masry also suffer from “severe mistreatment.”

The two photojournalists embarked on a hunger strike April 19 in demand of the revocation of the protest law and the “release of detainees,” according to a statement the Freedom for the Brave Facebook page posted on their behalf on April 23.

The Abu Zabal Prison administration denies Masry and Ziyada their breaks and prevents them from removing their waste outside of their cells, the statement said.

April 6 published a statement by Masry and Ziyada on April 29, addressed to interim President Adly Mansour, amongst others. According to the statement, Masry fainted once and Ziyada fainted twice, but the prison administration refused to send them to the hospital in “outright intransigence.”

“Why are we here? We are journalists, not criminals. We were exercising our job,” the statement read. “We sacrifice our lives to reveal the truth to the people of Egypt, and we will continue to report the truth.”

“We will continue with our hunger strike until we and the media are set free,” the statement continued.

Four other members of April 6, who were detained during the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution in 2014, are being “inhumanely” treated in Wadi al-Natroun Prison, Kamal said.

Kamal called on the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to immediately intervene and to conduct surprise inspections of prisons, rather than “arranged, expected visits.”

Doma’s wife Nourhan Hefzy said in a statement that her husband, Maher, and Adel were beaten for 30 minutes while in detention on April 7, when the activists’ 3-yearprison sentence was upheld on charges of orchestrating illegal protests and assaulting police officers in November 2013.

Abou Bakr Abdel Karim, assistant to the minister of interior, told Tahrir channel April 5 that Doma has a stomach ulcer and was “properly treated” and given medical attention “like every other prisoner.”

Following a surge in torture allegations in prisons since January, the NCHR, which is state funded, made its first field visit to prisons in mid-February.

NCHR members Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, George Isaac, and Salah Salem all said there was“no systematic torture” in the jails, but did, however, mention group beatings and the “harsh treatment” of prisoners.

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