The Ministry of Interior threatened 34 detainees on Sunday night with tear gas if they insisted on continuing the hunger strike they had begun the same day, according to Freedom for the Brave, an initiative that provides support for detainees.
The detainees in Ain Shams police station entered a hunger strike after having their personal belongings stolen and enduring beatings on the orders of a warden, said a Monday statement by the Freedom for the Brave.
One detainee called Ibrahim Shabana had had symptoms of a stroke, prompting the other detainees to call for help. The detainees announced their hunger strike as a result of their treatment.
“Not only did the police officers ignore the critical situation, but they also beat and dragged all the detainees in the cell,” said the statement.
The Ministry of Interior’s press office denied the incident, saying: “There are no strikes in Ain Sham police station.”
Detained journalist Ahmed Gamal Zyada was also threatened to be forced to break his hunger strike, reported Freedom for the Brave.
According to Zyada’s brother Mohamed, the head of investigation at Abu Zaabal prison threatened him with relocation to a solitary confinement cell.
Zyada had previously asked to be relocated from the cell he is currently imprisoned in. An officer, however, told him that would not happen until he ended his hunger strike, said the Freedom for the Brave’s statement.
“The regime fears the detainees’ hunger strike, and we have to support it to be stronger,” said the statement.
Monday marks the eight day of Zyada’s hunger strike, as well as Alexandrian lawyer and activist Mahienour El-Massry’s hunger strike.
Prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, arrested in November 2013 over violating the Protest Law, began a hunger strike on 19 August. Activists Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel, Ahmed Maher, Hamada Al-Nubi and Wael Metwalli followed suit.
Egyptian-American journalist Mohamed Soltan has been on hunger strike for 218 days. He is one of the 52 defendants on trial charged with “forming an operations room to direct the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group to defy the government during the Rabaa sit-in dispersal and to spread chaos in the country.”
The hunger strike is an escalatory procedure initiated by the imprisoned youth, human rights lawyer Amr Imam had said following El-Massry’s strike. “It is an appropriate step in this phase since neither authority listens nor is any judiciary fair.”