Two Egyptian political prisoners die in one day during COP27 summit

Two Egyptian political prisoners die in one day during COP27 summit
The deaths come as Egypt faces fresh international scrutiny over its prolific jailing of activists and opposition politicians.
3 min read
16 November, 2022
The Badr Prison Complex, located 70km from Cairo, was opened earlier this year [Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty]

Two political prisoners died in Egypt's prisons in the space of 24 hours this week, human rights activists have said, amid renewed outrage and scrutiny over detainees in the country during the COP27 summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Magdy Abdo Al-Shabrawi died at the new Badr Prison due to "poor detention conditions and outrageous medical negligence", human rights activist Haithem Abu Khalil said.

Shabrawi, a bookstore owner, had been detained since January 2020. He had recently been transferred from the notorious Scorpion Prison to Badr, Abu Khalil said.

His son has been in detention since 2014, the activist added. Cairo has detained thousands of activists following the 2013 military coup which overthrew Egypt's first democratically-elected government, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian human rights monitor We Record said Tuesday that jailed teacher Shabaan Mohammed Sayed had died, "as a result of the conditions of imprisonment".

Sayed had been transferred to a hospital for treatment after his health condition deteriorated while being held at the Qanatir prison near Cairo, We Record said.

Abu Khalil shared news of Sayed's death on Monday night.

The two men were the 31st and 32nd political prisoners to have died in Egyptian detention in 2022.

Last year, 52 political prisoners died in detention, according to We Record.

Egypt has detained as many as 60,000 political prisoners since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seized control of the country in a 2013 military coup.

Human rights groups say torture and abuse are widespread in Egyptian prisons.

Former Egypt President Mohamed Morsi died in court in 2019 due to a condition which was worsened by his harsh conditions in detention and denial of medical treatment.

The fate of Egypt's political prisoners garnered fresh attention amid the COP27 climate summit taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, with world leaders calling on Egypt to end its crackdown on freedom of expression.

A key figure in the issue of political prisoners is British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah who went on water strike on the first day of COP27 to protest his continued detention over a critical tweet.