CAIRO: Eleven human rights organizations issued a joint statement Monday expressing their deep concern regarding torture and violent acts against the inmates of Wadi al-Natroun prison.
The statement said the torture took place in cell blocks 430 and 445 on May 31. The organizations involved in the report were the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, Nazra for Feminist Studies, Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development, El Nadeem Center for Psychological Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, the Land Center for Human Rights, Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Organization.
The organizations called for urgent, neutral and inclusive investigations and to hold the involved officials accountable, in addition to referring the abused inmates to forensic medicine to examine their injuries.
They further called for protecting the inmates from torture and maltreatment, as according to the report, cases of torture increased after the May 31 incident.
They said that despite the interior minister allowing them to visit prisons and document torture in February “the intransigence of the Interior Ministry still remains.”
The May 31 incident occurred when inmates in cell block 430 refused to accept food and open their cell doors for a visiting delegation from the Prisons Service. They then chanted in protest over their time in custody, according to the report.
It further added that when the prison guards failed to convince them to open the doors, security forces stormed the cells and beat them, seriously injuring many inmates.
The report said the court ordered the inmates held for 45 more days without a medical examination despite requests from inmates’ lawyers.
Police also moved prisoners awaiting trials to the cells of those already convicted in violation of the law according to the report.
They added despite the attorney general on June 1ordering the prosecution to investigate reports of torture in prisons, no serious steps have been taken.
They further added that after a group from the public prosecution visited four prisons in February and discovered violations, nothing was done.
The report called on the prosecution to conduct monthly investigations of prisons and issue a report about the results of each visit.
The human rights groups finished the report by saying continued torture at prisons is an insult to the 2014 Constitution, and reaffirmed the need to respect and adhere to international conventions signed by Egypt regarding human rights.