CAIRO: Some 200 detainees were transferred from Old Cairo Police Station following two deaths attributed to overcrowding, Youm7 reported Monday.
Two men reportedly died within 48 hours of their detention after suffering of “circulatory collapse.”
Youm7 reported that recent inspections at the police station showed that the number of the detainees locked in one room reached more than 350, although the capacity of the room is supposed to be limited to 120.
“This has led to overcrowding and the spread of diseases, besides the swelling of most of the detainees’ legs due to standing for long hours,” a security source told Youm7.
There are seven holding cells at the Old Cairo police station, where detainees are kept in remand pending investigations over different cases.
The Human Rights Committee at the Ministry of Interior reportedly visited the police station and discussed the detention conditions with the detainees.
A report is expected to be released by the Ministry of Health to show whether the death of the two detainees could be classified as a crime.
In August 2014, the Cairo Security Directorate announced it started installing air conditioners and water coolers inside detention rooms after a number of suspects died of suffocation.
Human rights organizations have frequently criticized poor conditions in police stations, which have turned into de-facto prisons due to receiving on remand-detainees that may have their detention extended by 15-45 days.
Rights activists previously told The Cairo Post that the situation “worsens” during summer time, where the cells’ temperature can reach dangerous levels, worsened by the fact that police stations, unlike prisons, “offer neither good food nor doctors.”
Egypt is obligated to protect the health of prisoners and detainees under the 2014 Constitution, prison regulations and international agreements.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Marie, Nourhan Magdi and Rania Amer