Prosecution makes surprise visits to Egypt prisons, reports few complaints

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Feb 2014

General Prosecution visits four Egyptian prisons early Wednesday, highlighting deficiencies only in Abu Zaabal Prison

Hisham Barakat. Egypt's prosecutors Hisham Barakat (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's general prosecutor released a statement Wednesday saying random visits have been made to several Egyptian prisons to inspect the state of prisoners "in accordance with the prosecution's role in protecting freedoms and applying the law."

Members of the prosecution inspected four prisons, including Molhaq El-Mazraa in Cairo's Tora Prison, Qalyoubia's prisons of Abu Zaabal (1 and 2) and Wadi El-Natroun Prison in Beheira.

In Tora, the statement said, the prosecution met with former parliament head and Muslim Brotherhood member Saad El-Katatni, former premier Hisham Qandeel, former MP Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, former Minister of Supply Bassem Ouda, Wasat Party leading member Abu El-Ela Mady and Salafist figure Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail.

According to the statement, the prison cell, enough for 40 prisoners, included 17, and none had any complaints. The prison is in a good condition, it said, well cleaned and ventilated and is spacious with a place for prisoners to exercise.

In Wadi El-Natroun Prison, detainees also had no complaints. The prison big enough for 4,500 inmates, and currently holds 2,681. All prisoners are detained in accordance to the law and the prison in a good state, the prosecution said. The same reported regarding Abu Zabaal Prison 1.

In Abu Zabaal Prison 2, however, the report said it was overcrowded, under-ventilated and prisoners complained of too little food and bad quality water.

Prosecutors ordered an investigation into the complaints, the report concluded.

Lately there have been several reports of torture and mistreatment in Egyptian prisons. Leftist activist Khaled El-Sayed published testimony of his own experience of torture in Abu Zabaal Prison.

Wasat Party head Essam Sultan, detained in Tora Prison, also complained to prosecution last month that he was denied food and clean water for 16 days.

The interior ministry released a statement denying all recent accusations of torture.

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