Egypt holds political opponents in harsh and inhumane prisons, says Amnesty International

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On Thursday, Amnesty International said that Egyptian authorities are holding state critics and political opponents in harsh and inhumane conditions in Badr Prison Complex as Egypt prepares to host the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The rights group said prisoners are held in horrific and punitive conditions similar to or even worse than those documented in the infamous Tora Prison Complex, with detainees chilling in their cold cells while lights and surveillance cameras are on around the clock. The rights group added that access to essential items such as food, clothing and books is prohibited. Prisoners are denied contact with their families or lawyers, cutting them off from the outside world.

“The Badr Prison Complex was opened amid media clamour on the part of the authorities as if it indicated an improvement in Egypt’s human rights record,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “On the contrary, prisoners face the same human rights violations… which reveals the absence of political will on the part of the Egyptian authorities to put an end to the human rights crisis in the country.” Callamard pointed out that the public relations system in Egypt is working with all its energy before the start of COP27 to hide the horrific reality in the country’s prisons, where political prisoners are languishing in appalling conditions. “No public relations campaign, no matter how loud, can hide the country’s poor human rights record that requires real reform from the government,” she said.