The human rights platform We Record has published a leaked audio recording which captures detainees
screaming and knocking on the doors of cells to save an ill detainee inside the Tora Prison complex,
south of Cairo.
Detainees call on the Egyptian security forces to save a prisoner who is in a critical health condition:
“There is someone dying… he is very tired.”
The recording raises fears that more lives will be claimed in General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s prisons.
Former Egyptian detainees say that prison departments usually shut down detention facilities that
contain large numbers of prisoners, including patients with serious and chronic diseases, without any
means of communication or relief for most of the day.
If their health deteriorates, the detainees begin to shout and knock on the doors.
The process of opening cells to save the patient usually takes over an hour, and sometimes he is
transferred to the prison clinic to discover that there is no overnight doctor, which means that the
patient will remain in his cell until the morning, which causes the death of detainees.
Egyptian human rights organisations called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to inspect
prison conditions in Egypt and allow United Nations experts to visit, after the escalation of the number
of deaths inside Egyptian prisons since the beginning of this year as a result of medical negligence and
the refusal to introduce blankets and heavy clothes for detainees in this cold weather.
During the past few weeks four political prisoners, including a woman, have died in Egyptian prisons
and a criminal prisoner has died due to deteriorating conditions of detention and medical neglect in the
harsh weather conditions. Dozens face the same fate.
Successive campaigns were launched to warn of the deteriorating conditions in Egyptian prisons in
general, in Scorpion Prison in particular, in continuation of what human rights organisations called “the
phenomenon of deliberate medical neglect” after they documented the death of about 30 people in 2019
through medical neglect in the prisons.
Last week Mustafa Kassem, 54, died in an Egyptian prison. He is the first citizen of American nationality
to die in Egypt’s prisons.
Kassem was the fifth detainee to die in al-Sisi’s prisons in just one month and his death sparked
widespread controversy about human rights in Egypt.
In 2019, former President Mohamed Morsi died in prison and human rights organisations have said that
Egyptian authorities may be responsible for his death.
Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms, an Egyptian civil society organisation, documented in a recent
report 22 deaths as a result of medical negligence in Egyptian prisons from the beginning of 2019 until
late last July.
The centre confirmed the increase in numbers over time, as there are more cases that are still suffering
from medical neglect and need treatment, so they do not follow the fate of their predecessors.
In another human rights assessment, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights, an Egyptian civil society
organisation operating in the UK, documented the deaths of 717 people in various detention facilities,
including 122 who were killed by torture by security personnel; 480 died as a result of medical
negligence, 32 as a result of overcrowding and poor conditions of detention, and 83 as a result of
El Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, an Egyptian civil society
organisation, has monitored deaths in various detention facilities as a result of torture since 2015 until
the first half of 2019. In 2015 80 citizens died in different detention facilities, including five who died