August 1, 2019

About 130 detainees in the heavily guarded Scorpion wing of Tora Prison have been on hunger strike for the last six weeks. Strikers are protesting against the prevention of visits since their arrest two years ago, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

“The Egyptian authorities have pushed dozens of prisoners in the Scorpion prison to the brink of collapse,” said Amnesty International’s deputy head of the regional office for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Magrabi.

“There can be no justification for the cruel and inhuman treatment of these prisoners,” she added.

Amnesty quoted the detainees who said they were beaten and electrocuted, imprisoned in special cells and not allowed out all day, to force them to end the strike. They were subjected to periods of enforced disappearance ranging from 11 to 155 days before they came before the State Security Prosecution. Many of them were tortured and abused during this period.

The organisation communicated with the families of four of the detainees who said that they could only see their relatives in court sessions while they were inside the glass cage. They explained that the prison administration refused to allow them to visit their relatives despite the fact that they gained permission from the prosecution.

The current strike was not the first as detainees were on hunger strike in October 2017 and February 2018. Those strikes ended with assurances that family visits would be allowed, but these promises were never met.