CAIRO: In the wake of Thursday’s turmoil and claims of abuse and torture, the inmates as Tora prison, where Karim El Shaer and Mohamed Sharkawy are currently being held, have initiated a hunger strike.
El Shaer and Sharkawy were released from prison last week but defied orders to stay away from demonstrations by being present at the journalists syndicate on Thursday.
The hunger strike is in protest of the alleged abuse against El Shaer and Sharkawy, according to a statement released late Saturday. The statement announced the intentions of the prisoners to implement the strike early yesterday morning.
They are demanding an examination of their colleagues by a forensic examiner; investigation into the kidnap and torture of fellow activists, which includes bringing to justice the security officers involved and the release of all detainees in the solidarity movement with the judiciary.
The Ministry of Interior has denied that any kidnapping and torture occurred on Thursday, following the peaceful demonstration at the journalists syndicate.
These torture claims are not true. It is not in anyone s interest to do this … A lawyer will say anything to put pressure on because he s being paid to do so, a spokesman told reporters on Friday.
“We, the detained in Tora Prison, charged of insulting the president and blocking the traffic, condemn police violence, the kidnap and torture of our colleagues Mohamed Sharkawy and Karim El Shaer, and condemn the complicity of the Regime Security Prosecution (formerly known as State Security Prosecution), the statement reads.
The same statement went on to condemn the government as using their security apparatus as a tool “in oppressing and torturing the opposition, which has previously closed the files of all torture cases.
“They are trying everything and anything in their power to do something that shows the government their wrongs, Aida Seif El Dowla, a leading activist, says.
One of the main reasons for the hunger strike is Sharkawy’s not being granted proper medical examinations following his alleged torture. “[The government] has blocked the examination of Mohamed Sharkawy by forensic medicine in the hope that the signs of torture would resolve.
Sharkawy’s lawyer, Gamal Eid, who said on Friday that the marks on his body were obvious and that the government’s forensic specialist was not allowed to see the patient prior to an interrogation, corroborates this.
The detainees also referred to the weakness of the government in stemming the opposition.
“The regime’s resort to thuggery is evidence of its weakness and shows how close we are to the day when we rid ourselves from it, the day of Egypt’s liberation, the statement says.
There has been no target date set for the end of the hunger strike. More detainees at Tora are anticipated to join in the hunger strike as a show of solidarity for their fellow activists in prison.
The organizing committee consists of activists Gamal Abdel Fattah, Wael Khalil and Ibrahim El Sahary.
“This is their only weapon against the government, El Dowla believes.
Currently, 432 members of different pro-reform groups are behind bars. Most were arrested while demonstrating in solidarity with Egyptian reformist judges.