17 April 2023
In a serious escalation to the violence against activists and HRDs held in Badr 1 prison, security forces this morning arrested Mrs. Neamatallah Hesham, wife of human rights lawyers and political prisoner Mohamed El Baqer from her home. Her whereabouts remain unknown until the time of releasing this statement.
The signatories to this statement call for the immediate release of Mrs. Neama Hisham, who did not commit a crime, but sought help from the violence that her husband has been subjected to by the Badr Prison 1 administration, after she saw him during the visit yesterday injured in the mouth, ribs and wrist as a result of the assault he and his cellmates suffered.
The undersigned organizations also condemn the incidents of beating and ill-treatment to which prisoners in Badr 1 prison were subjected (political activist Ahmed Doma, human rights lawyer Muhammad al-Baqer, journalist Muhammad Oxygen, and political activist Hamid Siddiq), at the hands of the Badr 1 prison administration, and demand the opening of a speedy official and independent investigation in these incidents and attacks, investigation of the warden of Badr 1 prison, and the formation of an independent committee of jurists and civil society organizations to examine the conditions in Badr prisons and to clarify the validity of what is reported about the practices of torture and collective abuse. The organizations also call on the Public Prosecutor to quickly investigate the communication submitted to him by the lawyer of the family of Muhammad Al-Baqer (No. 385866).
The events of the incident date back to Monday, April 10, 2023, when detainee, Hamid Siddiq, refused to leave his cell to go to a detention renewal session, citing his poor psychological state due to the recent death of his wife and his rotation on a new case after the legal period of pre-trial detention had expired. Then, the prison warden, using an antiriot force, forcefully pulled him out of his cell, beat him with clubs and kicked him in the face with their shoes, and ordered his transfer to a disciplinary cell, wrapped in a blanket. Muhammad Oxygen intervened, trying to prevent the attack on a friend, and asked for help from Ahmed Doma and the neighboring cells in the ward, but the warden assaulted them and gagged their mouths with a piece of cloth, which, according to Al-Baqer’s wife, led to a prominent injury in his wrist and mouth, in addition to the injury of Muhammad Oxygen in the neck and ribs, and transferred all of them to disciplinary cells with nothing on but their underwear. They were kept there throughout the day without food, drink, or medication until Wednesday morning, when they were allowed to bring in some medicines, bottles of water, and one loaf of bread with a small piece of cheese. On Thursday, Baqer, Oxygen, and Hamid Siddiq were returned to the prison ward, but in separate solitary cells and without any of their belongings, in addition to depriving them of exercise and time out of the cell.
The undersigned organizations express their deep concern about the Ministry of the Interior’s continued use of cruel and degrading treatment policies against detainees, including assault, beating and abuse of detainees, despite the continuous official statements about the development of the infrastructure of the prison system without any regard for the development of the institutional culture of prison personnel and administration, and despite the talk of national dialogue and opening public space,
As we affirm the right of detainees to be treated with dignity and humanity in accordance with their rights in international covenants and the Egyptian constitution, including necessary health care and freedom from abuse and torture,
- We demand the immediate release of Mrs. Neama Hisham, wife of human rights lawyer and prisoner of conscience Muhammad Al-Baqer, and to stop harassing families of detainees
- We call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately stop the policy of practicing the crime of torture and ill-treatment in Egyptian prisons, whatever the goal may be, whether it is for extracting confessions or using them as a means of punishing detainees and bringing the perpetrators to justice to hold them accountable for their crimes.
- Improve prison conditions, including modern prisons called “Rehabilitation and Correction Centers” in which violations are practiced like the previous ones, as well as reforming the judicial system to ensure that justice is achieved and that those involved in violations do not go unpunished.
- Allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to inspect prison conditions in Egypt, as well as allow specialized national and international non-governmental organizations to visit all places of detention and allow United Nations experts, especially the Special Rapporteur on Combating Torture, to visit Egypt.
- Formation of a national preventive mechanism of independent human rights organizations that organizes unannounced visits to places of detention to oversee their conditions in cooperation with the National Council for Human Rights and the Public Prosecution, foremost periodic follow-up of prisons, especially solitary and disciplinary cells.
Till the last prisoner
Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
El Nadim Center
Sinai Foundation for Human Rights
Refugee platform in Egypt
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Committee for Justice
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies