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Egypt's political prisoners denied bread and fruit

Ramy Shaath (L) [AmnestyAR/Twitter, Zyad El-Elaimy (R) [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]
Ramy Shaath (L) [AmnestyAR/Twitter, Zyad El-Elaimy (R) [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has gathered testimonies from the families of political prisoners which show they are denied simple food items such as bread and fruit, reports the New Arab.

One of the testimonies was from Alaa Abdelfattah's mother: "They [the prison authorities] refused to take wipes, cumin and thyme, but this was not the first time. They finally decided not to take two types of fruit, so I had to choose between mangoes and grapes."

"Overall, it somehow may seem more logical than last time when they asked me to choose between olive oil and honey!!!" Dr Laila Souieff said.

Alaa was arrested at 6am outside a police station in 2019 as part of a crackdown by the regime against the September 20 protests.

Ziad El-Elaimy, a former parliamentarian currently held under pretrial detention, said that she was not allowed to give diabetes friendly bread to her son, whilst Ramy Shaath's sister says she is not allowed to give fruit to her brother.

Both Ziad and Ramy are being held in Tora Prison and have been placed on a so-called terror list.

READ: Egypt faces health crisis due to sharp decline in number of doctors

Authorities banned 6 April member Walid Shawky's wife from taking in mangoes and also dates during Ramadan when they are traditionally eaten to break the fast.

There are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt who are kept in dire conditions including in overcrowded cells and given little access to sunlight.

Prisoners are given insufficient food to eat and so family members bring food items to them. However, since the restrictions became tighter with the coronavirus pandemic, and in some cases outright bans were implemented on visitations, many detainees are not getting enough food to eat.

Torture in Egyptian prisons is systematic and prisoners are regularly denied medical care, rights groups have repeatedly warned.

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