CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat announced there was “no evidence” of torture in the Tora prison complex following a surprise inspection by public prosecutors ordered by Barakat Thursday, Youm7 reported.
Barakat’s announcement, coinciding with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, follows months of accusations of systematic torture in prisons as well as in police custody by human rights organizations as well as detainees. The Interior Ministry has consistently denied any institutional patterns of abuse.
George Ishak, member at the National Council for Human Rights said that he appreciated the step, but told The Cairo Post Thursday “we want the national council to visit the prisons too, not only the prosecution, for [the sake of] credibility.”
Ishak added the council requested to visit Al Qanater prison in Qalyubia governorate, but the interior ministry refused despite the attorney general gave them a permit.
“when the two parties (the prosecution and the national council for human rights” inspect the prisons together so there will be documented evidence about the prisons’ conditions,” he clarified.
The attorney general released Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy June 16 after a 120-day long hunger strike, due to Elshamy’s poor health. In remarks to press following the release, Elshamy said he had been tortured in his detention cell and he would not “waive his right.”
Barakat said Thursday no inmate at the prison were held without without a judicial decision issued by public prosecution, and he added he would continue to order prison inspections.
His statement did note that although investigators did not receive complaints from inmates about torture or maltreatment, they did complain of limited exercise tie, as well as glass partitions which prevent direct contact between them and visitors them, a delay in processing time of visits and the lack of mattresses. The attorney general ordered an investigation into all of their complaints, the statement added.