No ‘detainees’ inside Egyptian jails: Hisham Barakat
Attorney General HishamBarakat - YOUM7/Hossam Atef

CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat announced Wednesday that13 jails all over the state are free of any “detainees” or prisoners without judicial orders.

He added in a statement Wednesday that the prosecution made surprise visits to these 13 jails, and as the results showedall the prisoners’ papers were in order, including those who were arrested and imprisoned by the prosecution’s orders pending investigations.The statement added that all of the prisoners assured that they were treated in a “decent way.”

Many calls were demanding the quick inspection of the jails and police stations in Egypt, saying that cases of torture happened inside it, according to statements by released detainees.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and other 16 NGOs, called last February in a joint statement for an”immediate, independent investigation into growing claims of the brutal torture and sexual assault of detainees held in prisons and police stations.”

The statement focused on the arrests that took place in demonstrations on the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.

It mentioned the testimonial of detained Khaled al-Sayyed, who claimed to be tortured in Azbakiya and Qasr al-Nil police stations, beside other detains who also claimed to have been sexually abused.

The signatory NGOs said that that they had not been permitted to visit the detainees inside jails.

Over and over, the interior minister denied that any kinds of torture or violations are happening inside the jail, as their conditions were compared to that of hotels by the ministry’s assistant for public relations and media, Gen. Abdel Fatah Osman last July.

Nermeen Yousri, the spokesperson of the Hanla’ehom (We Will Find Them)campaign, said during a conference in the press syndicate Saturday Sept.13 that many people have been lost since the revolution, some of them were found after months after being jailed without investigations.

She said that a man named Amr Al-Saied was found in a Quesna train station in the Menoufia governorate wearing only his underwear, six months after his disappearance.

 “We found that Saied had been in Wadi al-Natroun Prison, and was beaten and tortured without investigations. He was kept in jail for all this time with no charges,” Yousri said.

Lawyer Ali Atef, the Legal Unit director in The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), told The Cairo post Thursday that there is a difference between calling someone a “detainee” and just being imprisoned. “The detained is the one who is jailed with no charges, investigations or judicial order.”

“Social media users usually conflate those two terms, especially when they use the word ‘detained’ describing activists, including those in Shura Council or Ithadeya demonstrations, which is not right.” Atef said.

He added that Barakat’s statement is “legally” right, as we cannot say that there are any detainees now in the jails, as long they are arrested pending investigations.

“In the case of Amr al-Saied who was found in the train station, we cannot rely only on his claims or others in similar cases, as most of them were not aware where they were most of time,” Atef added.

“That happened a lot during the former regime, when Habib Al-Adly was the minister of interior, and we succeeded to prove many stories after applying with statements to the prosecution,” he said.

“The point is, social media users look to the activists cases as political cases not criminal ones, that’s the reason they are describing them as detainees although legally it’s not right.”

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