Egyptian have launched an online campaign to raise awareness about the plight of female prisoners especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Using the Arabic hashtag for Ramadan without her, the online activists seek to draw attention to women in detention through social media posts that provide information about them, the circumstances that surrounded their arrest, and the condition of their detention.
The posts highlight the separation between those detainees and their families during a month where Egyptian families traditionally gather at sunset to break their fast together.
Since the 2013 bloody military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi and led to the rise of his defence minister, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, to the presidency in 2014, Egyptian authorities have launched an unprecedented crackdown on opponents and dissidents.
At least 60,000 Egyptians have been detained “on political grounds” since the coup, according to international watchdog Human Rights Watch. Many of those detained are held in pretrial custody without charge or conviction. Many are serving sentences for violating “draconian” laws, according to Amnesty International, and issued under the coup to impose an effective ban on protests.
Others have been charged with membership to “an outlawed group” and “a terrorist group”, in a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood group which was banned following the coup. Morsi stems from the group.
Human rights organisations have described Egyptian prisons as being severely overcrowded and lacking adequate medical care. Human Rights Watch says that “scores of Egyptians died in government custody” in 2014 alone.
Adding in a 2017 report that officers and personnel at police and National Security stations “routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions and sometimes rape.”