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Former presidential assistant starts hunger strike in Egypt

A former presidential assistant in Egypt, Issam Al-Haddad [Egyptian Coordination for rights and freedoms/Facebook]

A former presidential assistant in Egypt, Issam Al-Haddad, has started a hunger strike in Akrab Prison in protest at ill-treatment by the prison administration. His wife Mona Imam appealed to human rights organisations to intervene and explained that her husband removed all of his belongings from his cell in protest at the humiliating treatment and the severe restrictions imposed on him recently. He is being held in solitary confinement at the notorious “Scorpion” Prison, where other prisoners have been on partial hunger strike for almost a month.

Imam said that she last visited her husband more than a year ago. “My husband has been imprisoned in solitary confinement for four years,” she explained. “He finished the period of preventive detention and his health has deteriorated; he has lost 15 kilos in weight.” Al-Haddad, she pointed out, has seen neither a prosecutor nor an interrogator at any time during his imprisonment.

“What is happening in the Scorpion Prison is a deliberate killing,” she insisted. “The prison administration, its doctors, the Prison Service and the interior ministry are fully responsible for whatever happens to my husband.”

A human rights report issued last year said a majority of detainees at the prison sleep on concrete floors without mattresses and are sometimes beaten. According to the report, the prisoners are denied visits by their families and lawyers for months, and are also denied food and medicine. At least six people are known to have died between May and October 2015 due to the very poor conditions in the prison.

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