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83 women held in Egypt prisons, says human rights activist

Egyptian women protesting in Cairo [File photo]

The number of women detained in Egyptian prisons has reached 83, according to human rights activist and researcher into female political prisoners in Egypt, Aliyah Mahmoud.

Mahmoud explained in a telephone interview with Mekameleen TV on Thursday, which coincided with International Day of the Girl, that 2665 female detainees have been released from Egyptian prisons in the past five years. She pointed out that the real numbers are much larger, but could not be accurately measured.

She added however that the number of female detainees in Egyptian prisons is increasing.

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Last month, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms revealed that dozens of female detainees were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. They were also tried in military courts on trumped-up charges.

In its report, the Commission monitored a number of violations against female detainees in the prisons of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime. These violations included causing the deterioration of the detainees’ physical and mental health by depriving them of access to their children, subjecting them to torture and placing them in prisons with difficult living conditions. Moreover, female prisoners are subjected to various types of psychological, verbal and even physical abuse.

Since the military coup of 2013, in which Al-Sisi overthrew the elected president Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian regime has expanded its prison system. The number of prisoners in Egypt’s some 62 prisons (not including its illegal detention centres) has risen to 60,000, according to human rights reports.

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Human Rights Watch said in a previous report that political prisoners in Egypt describe being left in isolation, being subject to beatings and deprived of food and medicine. The report added that such violations may have contributed to the deaths of dozens of female prisoners.

 

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