A/C units installed in Egypt police station following detainee heatwave deaths

Ahram Online , Monday 17 Aug 2015

A police station north of Cairo installed seven air conditioners Sunday after three detainees were killed last week from a scorching heat wave gripping the country, a senior police official said.

Egypt's police cells are notorious for dreadful conditions, including overcrowding and bad ventilation.

Three detainees were killed last Tuesday in the police station in the Nile Delta province of Qalyubia after suffering shortness of breath and fainting in temperatures that soared to 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit).

Provincial police chief in Qalyubia, Saied Shalaby, said in comments carried by state news agency MENA that air conditioners have been installed after the deaths.

He said that authorities prioritize "good treatment" of prisoners as well as their "right for appropriate climate and environment that preserves their basic right to life."

"We are keen to implement the law and respect all human rights accords," Shalaby added.

Egyptian security forces have long been reviled for human rights abuses and violence.

Police violations helped ignite the 2011 revolt that swept long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.

The detainees were among at least 95 victims of a sweltering heat wave that has persisted in Egypt over the past two weeks, with extreme temperatures expected to subside in the coming days.

Victims of the heatwave also include eleven patients at a psychiatric hospital north of Cairo, according to MENA.

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