Egypt prisons like 'resorts' with 'high standards', Egyptian cleric claims after damning report

Egypt prisons like 'resorts' with 'high standards', Egyptian cleric claims after damning report
An Egyptian cleric has claimed that Egyptian prisons were like resorts and treated their prisoners like guests, in response to a human rights report which spoke of their dismal state.
2 min read
13 August, 2021
Al-Jundi denied Egypt's prisons were in a bad state [Getty]

Pro-government media outlets and officials in Egypt have denied recent reports of inhumane conditions in Egyptian prisons, with one cleric describing the detention centres as "resorts" for detainees.

The cleric's claim came days after the Egyptian Network for Human Rights spoke about hunger strikes and a number of attempted suicides at Helwan's notorious Al-Aqrab prison.

Sheikh Khaled Al-Jundi claimed in a televised interview that prisons in Egypt are "no longer called prisons, but instead are called civil protection, and a prisoner is now a guest, just like at a hotel or resort."

Al-Jundi said the role of the interior ministry today was not to punish the prisoners, but rather "rehabilitate" them.

"I saw activities such as reading, sports, religious practises and recreational activities. I was shocked by the level of intelligence by these guests (prisoners) and the high-standards" at the prison, the scholar claimed.

His statements were met with ridicule and backlash from social media users.

A report issued by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information last April confirmed that the number of new prisons established in Egypt after the January 2011 revolution so far had reached 35, in addition to the 43 main prisons before the January revolution, totalling 78.

The human rights organisation estimated the number of prisoners, remand prisoners and detainees in Egypt as of the beginning of March 2021 to be around 120,000 prisoners, including about 65,000 political prisoners.