Egyptian political prisoner Omar Adel died in Egypt’s Tora Prison yesterday at the age of 29.
His family tried to visit him on Saturday but were sent home after being told that Omar was being held in solitary confinement as a punishment after they found him with a mobile phone.
Since the death of former President Mohamed Morsi on 17 June, prisoners have been subject to tightening punitive measures, including a ban on family visits. Last week the price of special permits to visit detainees went up by 500 per cent.
The circumstances of Omar’s death are unknown – he had no prior health conditions and a forensic report said that the cause of death was a seizure of his heart muscles.
Omar was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to ten years in prison for allegedly joining a banned organisation and burning down a police checkpoint.
The Muslim Brotherhood was labelled a terrorist organisation in 2013 and most people detained in Egypt are accused of belonging to the group.
Kilani Hassan, who was being held in Minya Prison on a life sentence, also died yesterday as a result of deliberate medical negligence and poor prison conditions.
Morsi’s death stirred an international outcry after he was denied medical care for the six years he had been imprisoned. His family was only allowed to visit him three times during his sentence.
Rights organisations warned that the failure to hold authorities accountable would give them license to continue abusing prisoners.
A report by the Cairo based El-Nadeem NGO details 283 cases of individual torture, 30 deaths in custody and 111 people who have been subject to medical negligence in the first half of 2019.