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Rights group: 2 detainees died of COVID-19 in Egypt

May 20, 2020 at 9:07 am

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

An independent human rights organisation based in Geneva said on Monday that two persons who were suspected of having been infected by the coronavirus have died in detention in Egypt, bringing the number of deaths in detention in the country since June 2013 to 1,007.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) called upon “the Egyptian Interior and Health Ministries to reveal the truth about infections, and suspected infections, with COVID-19 inside a number of police stations in some Egyptian governorates,” according to a press release published on its website.

CFJ documented “preliminary information” on the death of Ibrahim Okasha inside a hospital in the province of Sharqiyya after he was transferred from the Hahya police station where he had been detained. A few days before his death, Okasha showed symptoms that included a high temperature, severe respiratory distress and a persistent cough.

CFJ accused authorities of having “failed to act quickly to rescue” Okasha, adding that they continued to withhold “necessary medical information about the true reasons for his death,” which “supports our suspicion that Ibrahim [Okasha] died with COVID-19”.

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The organisation documented another death in the Balbis Police Station, also in Sharqiyya, adding that it has obtained information on four detainees that police station who were also showing COVID-19 symptoms.

There is also news of COVID-19 cases in other police stations, as well as a number of prisons, including the infamous Tora Prison, the press release added, noting that those suspected of having contracted the virus in custody include political prisoners as well as detainees held in criminal cases.