Political Opponents in Egypt Jailed in ‘Cruel and Inhuman Conditions,’ Amnesty Says
The Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in Badr city, 65 kms east of the Egyptian capital Cairo, in a photo taken on January 16, 2022, during a government-guided tour for the media. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)

Political Opponents in Egypt Jailed in ‘Cruel and Inhuman Conditions,’ Amnesty Says

Egypt is holding political opponents and dissidents in “cruel and inhuman conditions” in Badr 3 Prison, one of the country’s newest orisons and one that is being presented as a model prison by Egyptian authorities ahead of the COP27 annual UN Climate Change Conference, set for Sharm El-Sheikh in November. “prisoners are held in horrific and punitive conditions comparable to or even worse than those consistently documented at Egypt’s notorious Tora Prison Complex.  Detainees shiver in cold cells with fluorescent lights switched on round the clock; CCTV cameras are trained on them at all hours; and access to basic necessities such as sufficient food, clothing and books is banned. They are denied any contact with their families or lawyers and detention renewal hearings are held online,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “Ahead of COP27, Egypt’s PR machine is operating on all cylinders to conceal the awful reality in the country’s jails, where prisoners held for political reasons are languishing in horrific conditions violating the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. But no amount of PR can hide the country’s abysmal human rights record that demands real reform from the government,” according to Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. At least one prisoner, El-Sayed al-Sayfi, 61, died earlier this month within days of being transferred to Badr 3 after a prosecutor ordered his pretrial detention. The new prison was opened earlier this year, shortly after the authorities launched Egypt’s National Human Rights Strategy in September 2021, which hailed the authorities’ “purported efforts at modernizing prisons and upholding prisoners’ dignity,” according to Amnesty. There are a reported about 60,000 political prisoners being held in prisons in Egypt.

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