Political prisoners are facing abuse and “torture” inside Wadi El-Natrun Prison, according to a lawyer representing the detainees and a human rights activist following the case.
Abd Same’a told Daily News Egypt that he was last allowed access to his clients “a week ago”; however he and other lawyers were made to wait from 9am to 3.30pm before gaining access to the prison. He said that he and the other lawyers were “treated badly”, adding: “Imagine how they are treating the prisoners.”
Dr Aida Seif El-Dawla, a psychiatrist and human rights advocate working with the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, said she had very little information regarding the situation at the prison. “We don’t know, all communications with the prison have been cut,” she said, noting that family members have reported that visits scheduled for Saturday and Sunday had been cancelled by the prison authorities.
“We are very concerned that prisoners are being tortured,” said Seif El-Dawla, pointing to reports that guards are using teargas against the prisoners as well as beating them. She expressed particular concern for those held in sector 430 of the prison, which is inhabited by political prisoners.
Same’a said he believes there are “more than 500” prisoners on hunger strike inside Wadi El-Natrun, although this has not been independently verified.
The Ministry of Interior denied on Sunday media reports suggesting prisoners are on hunger strike and that prison visits had been cancelled. The ministry warned the media about reporting on “rumours promoted by members of the [Muslim] Brotherhood terrorist organisation”, adding that these rumours have been proven false by a fact-finding committee and the National Council for Human Rights.
Prisoners in Wadi El-Natrun began rioting on Sunday following the death of one prisoner due to a heart-attack. State news agency MENA cited the director of security at the prison who said the guards were able to control the situation without any clashes or injuries.