Human Rights Watch warns of a possible outbreak of coronavirus in Egyptian prisons


Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Human Rights Watch warned of a possible outbreak of Corona virus in a number of prisons and police stations in Egypt, and the International Human Rights Organization said that a number of prisons and police stations “witnessed a possible outbreak of Corona virus in The last weeks, amid a formal and strict blackout, “according to a report issued on Monday.

Human Rights Watch added, witness accounts, leaked letters from prisoners and reports by human rights groups, indicate that at least 14 prisoners and detainees have died, “probably due to complications from HIV infection in ten detention centers as of July 15, 2020. on Although dozens of prisoners and detainees – at least – have shown mild to severe symptoms of the disease caused by the virus. ”

“Medical care in prisons is insufficient, with almost complete absence of laboratory testing for the virus and a medical examination to detect symptoms. The authorities have released 13,000 prisoners since late February, but the number is not sufficient to reduce overcrowding in prisons and overcrowded detention centers,” the organization said. According to a “Human Rights Watch” statement.

For his part, Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch, said, “The Egyptian authorities should take immediate steps to provide adequate medical care for detainees and measures to contain the outbreak of the Corona virus. Egypt needs to address the spread of the virus through Speed ​​up the release of prisoners. ”

“The organization spoke with” five prisoners in three prisons, 10 relatives, friends, and acquaintances of 11 other prisoners in 6 other prisons and a police station, he said, noting that witness accounts and reports explain that “overcrowding made social separation” It seems that the prison authorities have not taken any measures to track contact with, and have done little to isolate prisoners who exhibit symptoms. In some cases, the authorities have designated one or more cells in the same prison for a prisoner or prisoners who show symptoms of HIV infection. Prisons have not taken any special measures to protect groups at greater risk, such as older prisoners and people with previous medical conditions. Officers in at least three prisons did not allow inmates to obtain or place masks, according to witnesses, according to Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch cited the “Comunity for Justice”, a Geneva-based human rights organization, documenting more than 190 suspected HIV cases in 12 prisons and 29 police stations, including more than 160 prisoners and 30 employees and security personnel in the Ministry of Interior, including These are 14 suspected deaths among prisoners in five police stations and five prisons in four Egyptian governorates.

The Egyptian authorities have not commented on the “Human Rights Watch” statement, while CNN has requested the comment without receiving a response yet.

“The Egyptian authorities imposed a complete blackout on the information in detention centers, and the Ministry of Interior has prevented all visits to the prison, including lawyers’ visits, since March 10,” Human Rights Watch said, noting that “the Higher Council for Media Regulation, a body A government that imposes censorship and supervision of the media, repeatedly warning against taking (legal action) against any media organization or journalists writing reports on the Corona virus in Egypt in contradiction to official statements.

The organization called on the Egyptian authorities to conduct extensive investigations of prisoners, expedite their release, and allow prisoners to communicate regularly with their lawyers and families, as well as the government establish a public online database on prisons in Egypt, including updated information on their capacity and occupancy.


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