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Egypt detainee dies from medical negligence as regime escalates torture

June 3, 2020 at 11:34 am

Egyptian policemen at the entrance of a prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Another Egyptian detainee has died from medical negligence, this time in Shibin Public Prison.

According to the human rights organisation We Record Reda Abdullah, 70, died yesterday after his diabetes went untreated.

Abdullah had been detained since 27 August 2019 when he was arrested from his home.

The Shehab Centre for Human Rights says it holds the Interior Ministry responsible for Abdullah’s death, is demanding a full investigation and for the release of all detainees.

Over the past several months there have been an increase in the number of deaths in Egyptian detention centres indicating a serious escalation of medical negligence by prison authorities.

READ: A week of politically motivated arrests in Egypt

Eight people died in detention last month alone, a number of whom had suspected coronavirus. Shehab Centre and the Committee for Justice have both reported that detainees have complained of respiratory distress, high temperature and persistent coughs, yet they are not treated or tested.

On 2 May the death of the Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash, 24, from medical negligence received widespread criticism and shone a spotlight on the systematic practice.

In October 2019 Habash pleaded for support in a letter:

The prison does not kill but the loneliness does. In the last two years I tried to resist but I can’t anymore.

“I’m dying slowly. I’m standing alone in front of everything. I know that a lot of friends who love me are afraid to write about me, thinking I will be released anyway without their support.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis the Egyptian regime has widened its crackdown on dissenting voices and punished those already in jail, including by implementing a ban on visitors, or any communication with family.

READ: Coronavirus spreads in Egypt’s Tora Prison

Despite concerns for human rights violations including torture, mass trials and extrajudicial killings, the US and several countries within Europe have failed to hold Egypt to account, continuing with business as usual.

The Italian daily La Repubblica has announced Italy is considering approving a $10 billion arms deal to Egypt despite the fact that the torture of Giulio Regeni has not yet been resolved.