Egypt Watch

The Egyptian Front said Egyptian authorities use prisoners to beat political detainees

The Egyptian Front for Human Rights said that detained political activist Ahmed Maher, known as Rego, was beaten with the knowledge of the prison administration in Mazraat Tora Prison before he was transferred to Al-Qanater Prison for Men and placed in a cell with detainees accused of embracing fundamentalist ideas and joining the Islamic State. The extremist prisoners put moral pressure on him, according to the organization.

Maher was remanded in custody on March 7 for 45 days in Case 855 of 2020, State Security, in which he is accused of joining a terrorist group, spreading false news and misusing social media. He was referred to this case after his release in Case 586 of 2020, State Security, for which he was arrested in May 2020 along with a number of media professionals and journalists.

The same incident was repeated with other detainees in Mazraat Tora Prison at the beginning of the month, as they were beaten by detainees cooperating with the prison administration, against the background of their hunger strike. Political activist Abdel Rahman Tariq, known as Moka, was beaten by a number of criminal prisoners due to his hunger strike, according to human rights lawyer Mohamed Fathi. Fathi pointed out that the prison administration had earlier refused to record Tariq’s hunger strike, in addition to not providing him with any health care, which prompted his family to file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor. Tariq and 11 others who are being held in pretrial detention on various political issues had announced on February 11 their hunger strike in protest against the continuation of their pretrial detention for years.

In an official statement, Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release them or provide evidence of wrongdoing. “It is disgraceful for someone to spend years in prison without trial on trumped-up charges,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The Egyptian authorities should release the hunger strikers and end the unjust use of endless pretrial detention as a tool of repression.” “The Egyptian authorities are increasingly relying on rotation to imprison activists indefinitely without trial, especially in the wake of the mass arrests campaign in September 2019,” Human Rights Watch said, as the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms documented at least 97 cases of rotation from July 2015 to May 2020.