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Egypt’s Wadi Al-Natroun prison is ‘five-star hotel’, head of Council for Human Rights says 

July 31, 2023 at 11:06 am

Egypt’s new prison in Wadi Natroun [WeRecordAR/Twitter]

The head of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights has compared the new prison complex in Wadi Al-Natroun to a five-star hotel.

Ambassador Moushira Khattab told journalist Ahmed Moussa last night that prisoners at Wadi Al-Natroun work to reform, rehabilitate and learn how to be good citizens.

Khattab also said that journalists abroad have exaggerated when writing about what happens inside Egyptian prisons and that Egypt has made major improvements in the field of human rights.

In October 2021 Egypt launched the new Wadi Al-Natroun prison, which, according to the interior ministry, contains swimming pools, sports halls, schools and a hospital.

A video of the new complex showcased inmates in brand new classrooms wearing clean uniforms and rooms full of police officers with the latest technology equipment. There is an aerial shot of a football pitch, wards with TVs and a library for “developing cultural and intellectual skills.”

“One of the largest reformation and rehabilitation centres in the world,” the video states.

READ: Al Jazeera condemns Egypt blacklisting of its journalists as terrorists 

However, several human rights groups have documented that inmates have suffered health neglect whilst detained there.

In 2019 Adel Abdulwahab Abu Eisheh died in Wadi Al-Natroun prison after being denied medical attention for liver disease and diabetes.

In the first half of 2021 there were 28 deaths inside the prison and over 120 cases of torture.

According to the Committee for Justice, prisoners’ pretrial detention is renewed digitally, which contradicts due process.

In May this year 38-year-old prisoner, Ahmed Zaidan Abdel Azim, said he had suffered severe beatings, electrocution and threats that he would be put in solitary confinement despite suffering from a heart condition.

Ahmed is serving a 15-year prison sentence at the Wadi Al-Natroun prison. According to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights Ahmed suffers from heart palpitations and excess electricity in the heart yet has been whipped in prison, further contributing to the deterioration of his health.

In May 2022 political prisoner Alaa Abdelfattah was transferred out of Tora prison and into Wadi Al-Natroun prison.

In November of the same year Alaa’s sister Mona wrote on Twitter that her brother was undergoing “medical intervention,” raising fears that he was being force fed whilst he was on hunger strike.

Alaa’s lawyer, Khaled Ali, was prevented from visiting his client at the prison. Alaa’s physical and mental health has declined severely because of the conditions of his detention.