July 25, 2019

Omar Adel, 29, died on Monday in Tora Prison after being held in a punishment cell for five days, sparking widespread anger among activists on social media.

Prison authorities put Omar in the punishment cell last Thursday and when his family came to visit him on Saturday they turned them away. His family were surprised by his death on Monday and no clear reason has been given so far.

Activists on social media pointed out that Omar was not suffering from any health problems, stressing that the report on the cause of his death was that his heart muscles stopped. Others confirmed that Omar knocked for two days on the door of his cell, complaining that he felt ill, but that no one came to him.

Some talked about their experience in the punishment cell, others about their acquaintance with Omar Adel inside prison. Omar feared dying alone.

Activists and parents pointed to increasing violations in Scorpion  Prison. Relatives who attended a trial on Monday said detainees did not have the ability to stand. Many prisoners went on hunger strike 35 days ago to demand family visits, which for many prisoners have been banned for three years.

Egyptian authorities arrested Omar Adel in 2014 when he was 25 and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, including five years in a military case.

The Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms documented 60 deaths as a result of medical negligence in prisons between 2016 and 2018. In the first quarter of 2019, 10 detainees were killed.

In another estimate the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) reported the deaths of 717 people inside various detention centres, including 122 killed by torture by security personnel; 480 died of medical negligence and 32 as a result of overcrowding and poor conditions of detention.