Harvest of Horror in 2020: 3,045 forcibly disappeared and 72 deaths in Egypt’s prisons


A human rights report revealed that the number of forcibly disappeared persons in Egypt during the last seven years had reached 11,224. They include 3,045 disappeared and 72 deaths in 2020 alone. According to a Shehab Center for Human Rights report, 39 women and girls forcibly disappeared in 2020. Fifty-nine disappeared persons were forcibly killed outside the scope of the law by the state, after an alleged exchange of fire with them, despite their previously documented disappearance.

Prison violations

The report, which monitors the crimes of enforced disappearance and violations in Egypt’s detention centers, added that prisoners and detainees witnessed serious violations against them, whose ferocity increased during the year 2020, with the Corona epidemic outbreak. The Egyptian authorities did not deal with the outbreak well in general. The report, titled (The Human Rights Scene), affirmed that although there are explicit provisions in the Prisons Law and its implementing regulations, these texts are not fully implemented. Prisoners suffer from continuous violations, which vary in proportions according to the prison or place of detention.

The report pointed to the nature of the violations such as “medical negligence, preventing visits, preventing the entry of medicines and personal belongings, torture, solitary confinement, alienating the prisoner (transferring him to a prison far from his family’s residence), preventing nursing, and other violations. According to the report, there are 68 prisons in Egypt, in addition to 382 detention facilities inside police stations. Human Rights Organizations estimates the number of political prisoners in Egypt at 60,000 prisoners and detainees.

Deaths and torture

During the past seven years, about 774 detainees have died inside the various Egyptian detention facilities; 73 detainees died in 2013, 166 in 2014, 185 in 2015, 121 in 2016, 80 in 2017, 36 in 2018, 40 in 2019, and 72 in 2020. Some detainees were repeatedly subjected to torture, threats, and other cruel treatment in various prisons. Some of those imprisoned were subjected to beatings, electricity, severe humiliation, and other multiple forms of torture, especially upon entering the prison for the first time. It is called “honor” or “reception.” Violations of detainees’ rights included preventing exercise or leaving the wards for long periods and preventing sun exposure. Besides, the violations included preventing visits for long periods and preventing the entry of any personal belongings during the visit.