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Fifth detainee dies in Egypt police station after being denied medical care

February 28, 2020 at 2:31 pm

Inmates are seen inside an Egyptian prison on 19 November 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Images]

Mohamed Al-Saifari has become the fifth person to die from medical negligence whilst detained in Egypt.

Al-Saifari died inside the 10th of Ramadan city police station in Al-Sharqia Governorate yesterday, despite being acquitted in July 2019 on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($320).

Al-Saifari had been on hunger strike to protest the decision of authorities not to release him. He was first arrested in January 2019.

According to the human rights organisation We Record, Al-Saifari had submitted two requests to the public prosecution to transfer him to hospital because of his ailing health.

Three days earlier, Ahmed Abdel Moneim Qandil became the fourth person to die in an Egyptian prison from medical negligence in February.

READ: Fourth prisoner dies of medical negligence in Egypt 

Qandil had suffered ill health in prison, which was aggravated by the volume of smoke and drugs being taken inside the cells, which are notorious for being badly ventilated.

In January, the dual US-Egypt citizen Mustafa Kassem became the first American to die in Egypt’s prisons after being denied adequate medical care for his diabetes and heart ailment.

He had been on hunger strike protesting against his unfair trial – Kassem was kept in Tora Prison for five years on pre-trial detention before being sentenced in a mass trial.

According to the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies 917 prisoners have died in Egypt since June 2013, some 677 of medical negligence and 136 from torture.

These deaths come amid campaigns to warn of the deteriorating conditions inside Egyptian prisons.

Under the cold cells campaign activists have tried to raise awareness of how prison authorities banned blankets, heaters and warm clothing from entering the prison over winter, which has exacerbated existing medical conditions.

When former President Mohamed Morsi collapsed and died in an Egyptian courtroom last year an independent panel review ruled that authorities’ failure to administer appropriate medical care possibly met the threshold for torture under international and Egyptian law.

Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh suffered a double heart attack in prison. His family have consistently raised concerns over his health and the lack of medical attention.

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