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Mohamed Anwar becomes 28th political prisoner to die in Egypt this year

Mohamed Anwar [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]
Mohamed Anwar [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]

A 70-year-old engineer who was detained in Gamsa high security prison in Egypt's Ismailia Governorate has died inside his prison cell.

Mohamed Anwar was detained in 2013, accused of setting fire to a courthouse in Ismailia and sentenced to 15 years in prison in a mass trial of more than 300 people by the Ismailia Military Criminal Court.

A central part of the Egyptian regime's crackdown on citizens is the use of the mass trial, which is administered to scare and silence the opposition and means that individual evidence cannot be heard against defendants.

According to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights, Anwar is the 28th political prisoner to die in detention in Egypt this year.

In the month of July alone, four Egyptian citizens died in detention either from coronavirus or deliberate medical neglect, which is used as a punitive measure against people who speak out against the regime, or their family members, reports Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

READ: Egypt issues 24 death sentences in 2 cases

Despite frequent calls for help, detainees continue to die in Egyptian prisons, including Amr Abu Khalil, a 58-year-old psychiatrist who in September 2020 became the third prisoner to die in Tora Prison in as many weeks after being denied medical attention for suspected coronavirus.

Amr Abu Khalil was detained as a punitive measure against his brother who is a prominent Egyptian opposition journalist in Turkey who criticised Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his family and was denied food and medicine deliveries whilst incarcerated.

Last month, former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh had a heart attack in detention in Egypt. His son, Hudhayfa, said prison guards stood by and watched, refusing to get medical aid as he cried for help.

It is the third heart attack Aboul Fotouh has suffered whilst on pretrial detention since February 2018.

In 2020, 79 political detainees died in various prisons and detention centres in Egypt.

The Geneva-based Committee for Justice has calculated that between June 2013 and December 2019, 958 people died in detention and almost none of the deaths have been properly investigated.

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