Anti-torture organisation Watan Bela Ta’azeeb, or Torture-Free State, accused the Ministry of Interior of “torturing and exterminating” 52 prisoners being transferred to Abo Zaabal prison.
In a Thursday statement, the group cited eyewitness reports of police firing bullets at a truck holding the detainees, before officers “shot a tear gas grenade into the overly crowded truck and set it on fire”.
The anti torture movement stated that 600 detainees were on their way to Abo Zaabal prison after the prosecutor general office had ordered them held for 15 days pending investigations related to their participation in protests following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
The group cited political activist Alaa Abd El Fattah’s statement on his personal Facebook page, which claimed “the prisoners were deported in a overly crowded stacked police truck during noon,” adding that the truck did not have an adequate source of ventilation, causing the “prisoners to panic due to suffocation.”
The movement disputed Ministry of Interior figures of 36 dead, alleging that there were 52 deceased among the prisoners, and that “bodies of the dead were burnt to conceal torture marks.”
The interior ministry previously stated that of a total of 759 detainees “36 …died of suffocation and crowding after tear gas was used to stop their escape.”
MENA news agency reported that “unknown gunmen” had tried to aid the prisoners, who had kidnapped a police officer.
The Anti-Coup Alliance has also requested an international investigation of the deaths of the detainees.