CAIRO: South Cairo prosecutors referred Wednesday the owner and four staff members of a private drug rehabilitation centre in Cairo’s Muqattam district to criminal court on charges of the intentional killing of a patient in the centre, Youm7 reported.
Defendants were accused of torturing a drug addict (Alaa) until he died during his therapy.
In February 2013, media outlets had run pictures and video footage showing incidents of torture on the centre’s premises . The footage showed pictures of nude patients at the centre, with their heads shaved and their hands bound which led to many people questioning the illegal practices in drug rehab centres in Egypt.
The drug rehabilitation centre’s owner said that “Alaa” (the deceased patient) had committed suicide in one of the centre’s bathrooms since he was not able to fight addiction and stay away from drugs. Alaa’s father told prosecutors that his son had repeatedly complained that he was being subjected to torture, but investigations had revealed that Alaa had not committed suicide but had in fact died of injuries sustained as a result of torture.
The centre’s staff had denied all accusations against them, saying that Alaa was making these claims to get out of the rehabilitation centre.
The clinic, officially registered and owned by psychiatrists, had been closed after the publication of photos that allegedly showed the centre’s staff committing violations and crimes which led to the murder of Alaa, Youm7 reported.
19,700 addicts had completed treatment at rehabilitation centres in the first six months of 2012, compared to only 18,000 in 2011, according to a report issued by the Fund for Drug Control and Addiction, the state’s official drug addiction authority.
Rehabilitation centres usually provide expensive treatment for patients and such high costs limit the opportunity for a significant number of drug addicts to receive treatment, Ahmed Dawoud, a psychiatrist and specialist in drug rehabilitation told Daily news in 2013.
Complaints against private drug rehabilitation centres in Egypt have been frequently reported in recent years since many centres in Egypt operate illegaly, under conditions of unqualified management and lack of governmental supervision.