In an official statement Amnesty International called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release political detainees and others who are vulnerable to coronavirus in Egyptian prisons. Amnesty pointed to the overcrowding of prisons and the lack of adequate access to health care, hygiene and sanitation. “Egyptian prisons are filled with journalists, human rights activists and peaceful critics, and fears are now increasing about their safety and health, if an outbreak mounts” the organisation said. “We call on the authorities in Egypt to show tolerance and take urgent measures that can save lives,” it added.

Detainees in Egypt are subjected to harsh and inhuman conditions of detention, where tens of thousands are crowded into narrow cells, deprived from exposure to sunlight, share personal hygiene tools, as well as poor living in cells with poor ventilation, lack of health care, which makes Egypt’s prisons fertile land for spawning a coronavirus outbreak.

Several human rights organisations in Egypt have called for the immediate release of political detainees and prisoners for fear of an outbreak of the corona epidemic within Egyptian prisons.