Even during the pandemic oppression is ongoing in Egypt

Despite the spread of coronavirus (COVID -19) in Egypt, where there are 1,070 confirmed cases and 71 deaths until now, and amid calls to release prisoners in fear of their lives in case the virus breaks out inside prisons, the regime is continuing an oppression campaign. El-Nadeem Centre for the rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture, one of the oldest Egyptian human rights organisations, released its March report which details the violations that continue to be committed by the regime including extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearance.

Extrajudicial killings inside detention places 

The report has documented the extrajudicial killing of nine people during March. Six of them (their names have not been announced) were killed by police during a raid on a house in Bir al-Abd, North Sinai, alleging they were terrorists killed in clashes with security forces.  Last month, six detainees died inside detention places. Five of them died because of medical neglect, and the last one died inside the National Security office in Shebeen el-Kom, Menoufia governorate, because of brutal torture, according to his family. The report recorded 26 incidents of individual and group punishment and torture in many prisons: Scorpion, Wadi el-Natrun, Tora and Borg el-Arab. The violations included beatings, insults, banning visits, preventing jogging and exposure to the sun, preventing medication, solitary confinement in a small room without lighting, ventilation or a bathroom, water shortages for long periods and deterioration of medical conditions inside al-Qanatir women’s prison.

Forced disappearances continue

The report documented 89 complaints of forced disappearance, some of them from 2013 after the military coup which was headed by the Minister of Defence at the time, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The places of kidnapping ranged from homes, police stations, government facilities, and Cairo International Airport; 386 citizens appeared after different periods of forced disappearance, some of them since 2018.  Also among them were four people who were forcibly disappeared after having been released in previous cases, then reappeared in connection with new cases. The majority of them, 376, appeared before the State Security Prosecution in the Fifth Settlement. The report also monitored 34 cases of state violence including refugees in detention, the refusal to release detainees despite the end of their sentence, journalists in detention, the arrest of 70 janitors after they tried to claim their wages which were late by three months, and the arrest of three women in al-Sharqiyah governorate in order to force their husbands to surrender to the police.