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Sexual and physical harassment of female prisoners in Sisi's prisons

Image of Egyptian soldiers [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Egyptian security forces, 1 June 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

A Cairo-based human rights group, Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, has revealed that dozens of women arrested on political grounds have suffered physical and sexual harassment. They have also been tried before military courts on fabricated charges.

According to the group, 30 women are imprisoned in Egypt's prisons on politically-motivated charges and subjected to physical and sexual violations.

In a report titled "Mothers in prisons… Women and girls who have lost their educational and familial futures behind bars", the organisation noted that the prisoners are "subjected to physical and sexual violations in prisons. They have also been banned from visits, have not been allowed to receive food and medication, and are detained in inhumane conditions."

"Some are tried in civilian courts, some in military courts, and some are in pre-trial detention," noted the report, adding that death sentences have been given to some political prisons without clear evidence.

Read: Arab Women Investors Union honours Sisi for 'supporting women'

The report documented a number of violations against female detainees in Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's prisons, including "the deterioration of the health and psychological conditions of detainees by depriving them from seeing their children and being subject to unbearable forms of pressure and torture. Furthermore, young detainees are subject to various forms of psychological and verbal abuse, and even physical assault."

Since the military coup in 2013, the Egyptian government has expanded and increased its prisons, reaching nearly 62 prisons, not counting illegal detention centres. According to human rights reports, there are over 60,000 prisoners currently detained in Egypt.

Read: 82% of women are harassed on public transport in Egypt

Human Rights Watch has mentioned in a past report that political prisoners in Egyptian prisoners suffer from isolation, beatings, and food and medicine deprivation, noting that the regular violations may have led to the death of dozens of prisoners.

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