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Leaked letter from Egypt Badr prison reveals denial of medical care

March 6, 2023 at 8:58 am

A picture taken on January 16, 2022 shows the Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Badr city, Egypt [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian human rights organisations have published a leaked letter from the Badr 3 Prison for Reform and Rehabilitation, revealing the continuation of violations against detainees, especially the denial of medical care.

According to the letter, on 2 March the prison administration refused to provide treatment to a sick detainee, unless detainees removed a cover they had placed on surveillance cameras installed to monitor their movement around the clock inside their rooms.

The leaked letter confirmed that the detainees in Badr 3 Prison insist on covering the surveillance cameras; object to the poor detention conditions, the ban on family visits, preventing them from exercising and poor food quality.

According to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights, Badr 3 Prison – which houses some of the country’s prominent prisoners of conscience – has witnessed a mass hunger strike and several suicide attempts in recent weeks as a result of “tragic circumstances” including a ban on family visits and inadequate health care.

In February, Hossam Abu Shorouq committed suicide inside his cell, while another detainee, Muhammad Turk Abu Yara, attempted suicide after prison officials refused to allow him to contact his family who live in the earthquake hit area in Turkiye.

A third inmate, Awad Nouman, also attempted suicide and was taken to the prison hospital.

The prisoners demanded, in a leaked letter sent to their families last month, international human rights organisations and United Nations to intervene and end their suffering and hold the Egyptian authorities accountable.

The Justice Committee, a human rights organisation based in Geneva, said it had documented at least five deaths inside the prison due to medical negligence.

While Amnesty International has documented that prisoners in Badr 3 Prison are being held in “cruel and inhumane conditions,” where the “detainees are shivering in cold cells, with fluorescent lighting on their walls around the clock”.

“Surveillance cameras are installed everywhere; access to basic necessities such as adequate food, clothing and books is prohibited. They are denied any contact with their families or lawyers,” it added in a report published in October.

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