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First woman dies in Egypt prison

Egyptian women members of the Muslim Brotherhood hold roses as they stand in the defendants' cage dressed in prison issue white during their trial in at the court in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria on 7 December 2013. [AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian women members of the Muslim Brotherhood hold roses as they stand in the defendants' cage dressed in prison issue white during their trial in at the court in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria on 7 December 2013. [AFP via Getty Images]

An Egyptian woman died in Qanater Prison in Egypt yesterday after her health deteriorated, making her the first female fatality in an Egyptian jail.

Some 900 women have being detained in Egypt since the 2013 coup, 70 are still in prison and are being subjected to serious physical and psychological violations, amounting to torture and even sexual assault, according to human rights organisations.

Maryam Salem, 32, had given birth to Abdul Rahman inside Qanater Prison in Cairo. Her son was taken from her and placed in an orphanage after his second birthday. Maryam two terms; one for ten years and the other for 15.

Female detainees have repeatedly warned that they are being badly treated in detention and a number, including Israa Abdelfattah and Aisha Al-Shater, have launched hunger strikes in protest against the injustice they are suffering.

HRW: Egypt must provide immediate medical care to Aisha Al-Shater 

A number of the prisoners’ families revealed that the detainees were subjected to torture in various forms, using electricity, being raped or threatened with rape, forcing them to undress, and being held in solitary confinement in small cells that lack ventilation and bathrooms.

The Egyptian prosecution continues to use pretrial detention as a punishment for political opponents by renewing the imprisonment of dozens of women without bringing them to trial.

Human rights groups have called for action to stop the mistreatment of prisoners.

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