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Egypt: Wives, children of detainees forced to walk barefoot in blazing heat for visits

A picture taken on July 26, 2018 shows Egyptian policemen stand guarding a checkpoint on a road leading to the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian policemen stand guard, 6 July 2018 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian human rights organisations have reported that security forces in Gamasa Prison forced the wives and children of detainees to walk barefoot over sand in the blazing heat to visit their families.

The violations, reported by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, included forcing wives and children to take off their shoes and walk long distances in the intense heat causing one girl to get heat stroke.

This amounts to psychological and physical abuse, the report said.

It is a long distance between the gate of the prison and Gamasa Prison and visitors must cross it on foot or ride in a taffaf, which is provided by the prison.

They also have to carry what they have brought for the prisoners across the threshold, including food, clothing and personal hygiene items.

Prison authorities do not provide prisoners in Egypt with medication or soap and so they rely on their families to bring this in, however, there have been reports of some of these items being denied as a further punitive measure.

READ: Extortionate bail and official bribery: How Egypt formalised its rashwah culture

Some political prisoners have been denied visits from their families for months.

Inside the prison, detainees complain about poor or inadequate levels of food and said they are only allocated limited hours for exercising.

The prison doctor is also mainly absent whilst the hospital does not have adequate medical equipment leaving prisoners to rely on doctors who have been detained in the prison with them.

One rights organisation said that it is unknown to them whether or not there is a psychologist or a social worker in the prison.

Rights groups have frequently documented Egyptian authorities' systematic use of torture, denial of medical care and use of the death penalty to punish dissent and prolong the suffering of prisoners.

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