By: Nasser El-Azzazy
Four political prisoners held in the Tura Reception facility have begun a hunger strike in protest over conditions in the prison and poor treatment at the hands of guards, according to prisoners’ families.
Daya’ Alam, the brother of Ahmed Alam al-Hanafi who was imprisoned for his alleged involvement in clashes at the Al-Arish Second Precinct police station, said that four inmates in total began a hunger strike this week.
Alam said the hunger strike was taking place in protest at poor conditions in the prison. He said that when he visited his brother, al-Hanafi was dragged to the visiting area by guards as he was unable to stand unaided. Alam blamed this on the poor food and healthcare services provided to inmates.
Alam added that all four prisoners had been placed under 23 hour lockdown in one cell located within the facility’s al-Dawai prison block. Units in this block are 2 square metres in size, and have no ventilation or access to water.
Inmates also experienced verbal abuse at the hands of police and guards, according to Alam. Alam added that security commander Walid al-Balqasi recently promised the inmates that conditions would improve, but they were then placed in isolation units.
The four prisoners on hunger strike are Ahmed Alam Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Sami al-Aisawi Muhammad and Hosam Mustafa Abd al-Hadi, all of whom are from North Sinai, in addition to Ashraf Muhammad Farag from Cairo. All four have been accused of blowing up gas pipes and involvement in clashes in al-Arish.
The father of Ashraf Muhammad Farg demanded that the Public Prosecutor enforce Law 2914 and hold the Tura Reception guards responsible for his son’s maltreatment and the results of his hunger strike. He also demanded that an investigation be opened into conditions at the prison.
Alam added that he had visited the offices of Governor Sayyid Abd al-Fatah Harhur, in addition to the Vice Governor Adal Qatamash, informing them of the hunger strike and passing on strikers’ demands to be moved to a different facility. He stated that the prisoners’ families had so far received no response from the authorities.