Egypt Watch

Committee for Justice: ‘The Egyptian authorities’ statements about prison conditions are so far from the truth’

The Committee for Justice said that the Human Rights Strategy announced by the Egyptian authorities recently is not the reality that the organisation has monitored and documented, especially in prisons and official and unofficial places of detention.

The organisation added that the launch of the strategy coincided with an unstable pattern of diplomatic relations between Egypt and the United States. Therefore, it aims primarily to win American support and silence dissenting voices abroad, rather than being a real political decision to improve human rights in Egypt.

The report touched on the deteriorating conditions in prisons and the authorities’ extortion of hundreds of detainees by training them to talk about the good conditions inside detention centres to the media in exchange for a presidential pardon. The report also indicated that some workers and businessmen were arbitrarily arrested. It also mentioned the parliament’s approval of a controversial law to dismiss government employees suspected of belonging to terrorist groups.

The report said that security attacks increased in severity even in the absence of protests. The total number of violations during the period covered by the report amounted to 2,077, including arbitrary deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearance, poor conditions of detention, death in detention facilities, and torture. There were 20 violations against journalists and media professionals. This can be explained by expanding the accusations of spreading false news to suppress voices who wish to speak about violations of citizens’ rights.

The organisation recommended dialogue with the Egyptian authorities to persuade them to stop prosecuting opponents and members of civil society, release prisoners of opinion and those who have exceeded their prison terms and stop circumventing the law with practices aimed at keeping opponents in prison for as long as possible.

The organisation also called on the international community to pressure the Egyptian authorities to join the International Convention for the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to put in place a legislative framework criminalising this practice. It also called for pressure on the authorities to improve conditions of detention to protect prisoners from denial of healthcare and ill-treatment and to release the elderly and those with chronic diseases.