In the aftermath of the late President Mohamed Morsi’s death in Egypt, Interior Minister Major General Mahmoud Tawfiq has prevented family visits to a number prisoners for an unspecified period, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed has reported.
The families previously expressed concern about the physical and psychological wellbeing of their family members inside.
Morsi collapsed during a court session on Monday whilst being tried for colluding with Hamas. He was left for up to 30 minutes before first aid was administered, then transferred to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities consistently denied requests by his family members and his lawyer to allow a doctor to examine him and administer treatment for his diabetes, liver and kidney disease.
They also refused his family’s request to hold his funeral in his home village in the Nile Delta, and prevented his family from holding a consolation for his death at home.
Last year a cross-party group of British MPs attempted to access the cell where he was being detained for 23 hours a day, but their requests were denied.
Morsi’s death has shone a spotlight on the conditions Egypt’s detainees are held in and the refusal of medial attention, which is a common punitive measure used by authorities.
It is believed that the recent decision by the Interior Minister to ban several family visits is an attempt to quell international pressure which has swelled in the aftermath of Morsi’s death.
The UN, Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilan Omar and Human Rights Watch are all calling for an independent probe into the authorities responsible.
Egypt has condemned the “politicisation” of Morsi’s death.
Other prominent members of the Brotherhood, including former head Muhammed Mahdi Akef, died in prison as a result of deliberate medical negligence.
Just days after Morsi’s death, the son of former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fatouh announced that his father suffered a heart attack whilst in prison. Authorities have continued to deny medical examinations be carried on Fatouh.
The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms has warned that the decision to prohibit family visits is contrary to both Egyptian and international law.