Suffocating cells: how detainees fare in Cairo's police stations

Suffocating cells: how detainees fare in Cairo's police stations
Photos of degrading conditions inside the cells of a Cairo police station go viral in Egypt drawing attention to the plight of detainees and a woefully inadequate detention system
2 min read
23 Jun, 2015
Jam-packed: detainees are forced to lie ontop of each other in shocking conditions [facebook]
Images of detainees crammed into a police cell and literally piled ontop of each other in Cairo have gone viral in Egypt, causing public outcry at the conditions of detainees in the country.

A source from the security services told Egyptian news outlet Masrawy that the pictures recently spread on social networking sites are genuine and date back to the previous month.

The source also added that the number of detainees in Sayida Zainab police station are constantly increasing, despite the police station's limited space, and that this is a problem affecting much of Cairo.
The Egyptian National Council for Human Rights stated this year that that prisons were at 160 percent capacity, and police stations at 300 percent. 

According to an investigation published in pro-government newspaper 
Al Watan, at least 90 detainees died in police custody in Cairo and Giza governorates in the first 11 months of 2014 from inhumane conditions, lack of adequate health care and in some cases torture.

Sayeda Zainab police station has been the setting for recorded human rights abuses, with Human Rights Watch documenting the routine practice of children sharing cells with adults.  

The source said that a new prison opened in Cairo earlier this month called "May 15 prison" will serve to decrease the overcrowding.

On Sunday a number of quasi-governmental human rights
organizations visited and approved of the new prison, which has a capacity for 4000 prisoners, suggesting that defendants spend pre-trial detention in such facilities, instead of police stations.

During the period between July 2013 and May 2014, authorities detained, charged, or sentenced at least 41,000 people according to a recent Human Rights Watch study, adding more strain to the dire conditions and over crowding in Egypt's prisons.