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Egyptian Interior Ministry declines European Commission request to visit prisons

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior declined a request by the European Commission (EC) to visit Egyptian prisons following reports of widespread torture against detainees.

Major Abu Bakr Abdel-Kerim, deputy minister for human rights, said that his ministry declined the EC’s request because “it has no official status”.

However, the official news agency MENA confirmed on Tuesday that the Minister of Interior approved a request by the EC delegation to visit three April 6 activists.

In a phone interview with the state television’s Channel 1, Abdel-Kerim said that the ministry welcomed any rights group who expressed interest in visiting prisons to meet with defendants and review their human rights conditions. “But the European Commission’s delegate has no [official] capacity,” he said.

MENA news agency reported that the ministry of interior permitted a delegation from the EU and UN Human Rights Commission to visit prisons after a meeting between the minister and EU Special Representatives for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis last Tuesday.

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