Egyptian authorities are carrying out “discreet assassinations” against prisoners and political opponents of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, most of whom belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is unlikely that the deceased President Mohamed Morsi is the last of them, according to reports.
Since Al-Sisi’s overthrow of Morsi in March 2013, Egyptian security forces have imprisoned tens of thousands of detainees for investigations on alleged cases. However, what is suspicious is how these detainees have been dying.
Al-Khaleej Online has conducted an in-depth investigation into the leading causes of death in Egyptian prisons and the methods implemented by government authorities to eliminate detainees according to reports of international human rights organisations, statements of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as human rights, humanitarian, and civil activists.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, says: “The prevention of treatment for political prisoners is a premeditated murder,” pointing out that “the Egyptian prisons’ administration is preventing the prisons from accessing their most basic rights.”
International human rights organisations called for an international investigation into what they have described as “crimes against humanity” and torture in the Egyptian regime’s prisons.
On 27 September 2016, Human Rights Watch published a report based on 23 interviews with relatives of prisoners, lawyers, a former prisoner, and human rights researchers, as well as government confessions. It states: “from the overthrow of Morsi on 31 June 2013 until the beginning of 2015; the Egyptian authorities had arrested at least 68,000 people.”
Another report by the same organisation confirmed that Al-Sisi’s regime had built and planned to build 19 new prisons, to accommodate more than 60,000 detainees opposing his rule. The organisation quoted Ibrahim Abdel Ghaffar, a former prison official, as saying: “The prisons were designed so that whoever enters them does not leave them alive… They designed them for the political detainees to be like graveyards.”
In February 2019, Egyptian Interior Minister Major General Mahmoud Tawfik decided to establish a new central prison under the name of “Central Prison of the Central Region in Asyut” in Asyut Governorate in Upper Egypt, south of the capital Cairo.
This is the 22nd of the decisions on the establishment of new prisons, which have been implemented under the rule of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and since the military coup against the elected President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013.
According to reports issued by Egyptian human rights organisations, between July 2013 and July 2017, decisions had been issued to establish 21 new prisons, bringing the number of prisons in the country to 66, according to Al Jazeera.net.
The increase in the construction of prisons comes amid growing condemnations by local and international human rights organisations against human rights violations in Egypt, the high number of political prisoners, the numerous testimonies of victims of torture in prisons, as well as the prisoners overcrowding inside police stations. In contrast, the Egyptian government argues that these are excessive numbers and that Egypt has no detainees and that those are prisoners detained under judicial rulings or within pending cases.
Since 2013, many international human rights organisations have been accusing the Egyptian judiciary and the security forces of widespread human rights violations, including murder, torture of detainees and assassinations against opponents and oppositionists of Al-Sisi’s government, in ways that conceal any of the crime’s details.
Among the methods adopted by the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to assassinate the opposition’s symbolic figures, especially the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, are “medical or health negligence”, putting poison in food or preventing necessary treatments. Afterwards, the prisoners remain without health care until they die. Also, the family of the deceased prisoner is not allowed to obtain the medical reports through which it would be possible to know the causes of injury or illness. The prisoner is likewise denied the right to receive treatment in government hospitals, under orders issued by the security and intelligence forces.
Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled “Egypt: Rash of Deaths in Custody“, in which it said that it recorded the death of 95 detainees in the cells of the police stations in 2014, with an increase of 40 percent from 2013 and confirmed that detainees have been beaten to death in prisons, in addition to other cases of deaths of detainees with heart, cancer, and other diseases, as well as those who have been prevented from getting treatment, amid deteriorating health services in prisons.