Two Egyptian jailed activists allegedly violated in prison: rights groups

Two Egyptian jailed activists allegedly violated in prison: rights groups
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
27 July, 2022
Leading Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma and researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy have reportedly been subjected to violations at Tora prison. The prison administration refused to open an investigation into their accusations.
Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma was reportedly assaulted in prison for requesting urgent medical care for his cellmate. [Getty]

 A number of Egyptian human rights groups jointly denounced on Tuesday violations reportedly committed,  including physical assault and medical negligence, against two jailed activists earlier this month.

In a leaked note written on 19 July, prominent activist Ahmed Douma detailed violations he was subjected to, accusing a Tora prison officer of torturing him and verbally insulting him, the statement read.

Douma argued with the jail warden for not providing medical assistance to his cellmate, researcher and activist Ahmed Samir Santawy who exhibited COVID-19 symptoms, the statement added.

Douma further wrote that Santawy became suffocated after their tiny cell had been cleaned up with a large amount of disinfectant and the prison administration refused to open the cell in order for him to receive medical care until an hour later.

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The management refused to open an investigation into the assault against Douma even though he called for summoning a prosecutor, nor did it accept the report Santawy filed accusing it medical negligence.

In 2019, Douma received a final 15-year jail term and was fined six million Egyptian pounds (about $316,000). A leading activist in the 2011 revolt that toppled late long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Douma was arrested in 2013 on charges of clashing with security forces in Cairo two years earlier.

Earlier this month, Santawy was sentenced to three years in prison for "spreading false news on social media" - an accusation frequently levelled at dissidents in the country.

Santawy, who was a postgraduate student at the Central European University in Vienna, was arrested in February 2021 while on a family visit to Egypt.

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Meanwhile, the Cairo-based Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) filed a complaint before the prosecution general on behalf of Douma that called for opening an investigation into the accusations.

Local and international human rights groups estimate that Egypt holds about 60,000 political prisoners and detainees behind bars since president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office. Many of them undergo violations and medical negligence, while others were executed or are on death row.