Numbers leaked to rights agency on Egyptians detained in Israel

Ahram Online and MENA, Tuesday 28 May 2013

Egyptian Organisation for Human Right to sue foreign affairs minister for neglecting Egyptians imprisoned in Israel and withholding information

Egyptian soldier stands at border with Israel (Reuters Photo)

There are 29 Egyptians detained in Israel’s Beersheba prison, announces the head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) Mohamed El-Bedawi on Monday, quoting an Egyptian prisoner, Saleem Ayyad.

The number of Egyptians in Israeli prisons is shrouded, as no official figures are being released by Egypt's foreign affairs ministry.

The EOHR specifies that 25 of the 29 detained in Beersheba are accused of smuggling drugs into Israeli borders; one is a political prisoner and one is accused of espionage against Israel.

El-Badawi condemned "the complete silence from the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry and its negligence towards the prisoners" accusing Egyptian authorities of not providing legal or psychological support.

The organisation is poised to take legal action against the foreign affairs minister for not revealing any information regarding the 56 Egyptians detained in Israeli prisoners, states EOHR member, attorney Rabab Abdo.

The issue of Egyptians detained in Israel has again been spotlighted after the prisoners declared a hunger strike on 1 May to protest harsh detention conditions and negligence by Egyptian authorities.

An informed government official told Ahram Online under condition of anonymity earlier in May that the total number of Egyptian prisoners is 78.

A similar number was revealed to Ahram Online by Sinai-base activist, Mostafa Al-Atras who is campaigning for the release of detained Egyptians in Israel. He estimates there are 80 Egyptians imprisoned in Israel, most of whom face criminal charges in Israel for "infiltrating" the country or smuggling drugs.

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