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‘High Court youth’ suffer behind bars, ECESR report

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The four were charged with damaging the High Court building, assaulting High Court employees and “thuggery”; they have spent over a year incarcerated

A lawyer from the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) who recently visited Osama Sabri in Wadi El-Natrun prison said Sabri’s physical health condition is good but his psychological health is “turbulent and volatile.”

ECESR released a report on Thursday detailing Sabri’s conditions behind bars. Sabri is one of four people who were arrested on 6 June 2012 outside the High Court where judges were holding a sit-in.

The report said Sabri was found to be treated in a “dry manner”, he felt that time was passing very slowly and suffered from frustration. Sabri was quoted in the report as telling his mother, “I am starting to adjust and get used to the daily conditions in prison, I do not know what life outside is like.”

The report stated that the Sabri and the three arrested along with him suffered “maltreatment and neglect as well as torture in the first few months of incarceration for the sake of revenge,” inside Wadi El-Natrun prison. It added that they contracted various diseases like cold, colic, skin allergy and continuous itching.

The other three arrested and sentenced along with Sabri are Nahed Sherif, Mohamed Atef and Kamal Mohamed. The four were charged with damaging the High Court building, assaulting High Court employees and “thuggery,” the report said. The ECESR report described their arrest as “random.”

 In addition three judges were also arrested, Ahmed Al-Shafei, Mohamed Al-Morshedy, and Karim Mohamed Ahmed. The judges were acquitted but the other four detainees were sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was upheld upon appeal.

Last October, former President Mohammed Morsi issued a decree granting all “revolutionary prisoners” amnesty but Sabri and the other three were not included on the list of people the pardon applies to. A complaint was lodged to get their names on the list. It was only looked into after nine months and was rejected. Due to the nature of the charges brought against them, they cannot be discharged after spending half or three quarters of their sentence.

Sabri’s father had said last year that at first no one knew where Sabri was until four days of his arrest had passed.  After he finally managed to reach his son, Sabri told his father that he was beaten and tortured in Al-Azbakeya police station. Mohamed Atef’s mother, Nagla Ahmed, had also said her son was tortured and humiliated during detention.


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