The authorities kill them slowly: Political detainee pass away in Egypt’s prisons from medical negligence


Human rights organizations revealed that an Egyptian citizen died in Scorpion Highly-guarded Prison 2 due to health deterioration. The Egyptian Network for Human Rights and Shehab Center said, on Wednesday, that Ahmed Saber Mahmoud Mohamed, 44 years, died, on Sunday, after 7 years in prison. The organization explained that Saber was denied of visits over the past 2 years. Saber was in pretrial detention in the case known as Kataeb Helwan (Helwan’s battalions). With the death of Saber, the total number of defendants inserted in this case, who died over the past years due to different causes, hit 9.

According to ENHR, the case was referred to Cairo Criminal Court in 2015 and involved 216 defendants, most of them spent over 7 years in pretrial detention, which violates the criminal law and the basic human rights. In addition, the Egyptian authorities pressured the defendants heavily up to torturing and denied them of visits and medical care while imprisoned in one of the most disreputable prisons in Egypt. Saber’s death is the second in July 2021 for a political detainee after the death of Reda Mohamed Aboul Einin, 63 years, who died in Tora prison after the Egyptian authorities deprived him intentionally of his medications as Aboul Einin was suffering from hepatic carcinoma. Aboul Einin was a teacher who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the case of dispersal of Rabaa sit-in.

Over the past seven years, 774 detainees died in detention centers; 73 in 2013, 166 in 2014, 185 in 2015, 121 in 2016, 80 in 2017, 36 in 2018, and 40 in 2019. ENHR recorded 79 deaths of political detainees in 2020, all of them died from medical negligence, including the eminent Muslim Brotherhood leader Doctor Essam el-Erian.

In 2021, Saber’s death is the death number 25 of a political detainee. The first was Reda Mahmoud, who died on 9 January in Belbis Police Station, followed by 2 other detainees in the same month. February witnessed the death of 9 detainees and March witnessed 2 cases. In April, Moussa Mahmoud, 33 years, died in al-Wadi al-Gadid Prison after the prison deprived him from his medication, despites he was suffering neurological disorders. Mahmoud was sentenced to life imprisonment for protesting the overthrow of late president Professor Mohamed Morsi. In May, 5 detainees passed away followed by 3 others in June due to medical negligence or Covid 19 infection.

Last February, 100 leading international human rights organizations demanded the world’s governments to establish an international mechanism to monitor and report human rights violations against the background of the ever-deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt. The organization warned, in a joint letter, that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi works on eradication of the human rights society in Egypt.