CAIRO: Youth for Change activist Mohamed El Sharkawy continues to face impediments in his fight for proper medical treatment at Mahkoum Tora prison. In a recent letter written by him, Sharkawy complains of medical negligence. The letter, dated June 12, tells of his mistreatment.
According to Sharkawy, he was once again sent to state security prosecutor, Mohamed Faisal, where he continued to resist interrogation by the prosecutor, demanding a magistrate instead. However, Faisal is said to have told Sharkawy that he would be referred to El Manyal University hospital. Upon his return to prison he was instead referred to the prison hospital in Liman Tora.
“At any rate, the prison did not even get me a bones medical specialist, as the prosecutor ordered, Sharkawy writes. According to Sharkawy, a doctor passes by his cell every couple of days in order to check on his condition. At that time, the doctor writes a report on his medical condition, which is given to the prosecutor.
“The last person who came and wrote a report about my medical condition was today, Sharkawi says, speaking of June 12. “He discovered I had a fracture in my seventh rib and my left wrist that needs surgery and the insertion of metal plates. I took a paper from him saying that, but he refused to mention everything in his official report.
Sharkawy was arrested following a peaceful demonstration at the press syndicate on May 25, only days after he had been released from prison. He was allegedly taken while he was leaving the syndicate, beaten and thrown in a police vehicle and driven to Kasr El Nil police station, in Garden City.
In Garden City, Sharkawy and his lawyers have alleged security officials tortured and sexually assaulted him, causing the injuries.
In related news, the lawsuit that Ahmed El Droubi, who shared a cell with Sharkawy in Tora prison, has begun to pick up steam. He has already sent a letter of complaint to his former employer seeking compensation for what he says is unlawful termination of his contract.
Yesterday, a group of fellow pro-democracy activists began to circulate a letter of solidarity for El Droubi. The letter is to be sent to the London office of El Droubi’s work. While El Droubi has already sent a lengthy letter to London, no response has been received concerning his termination.
“Firing an employee, for his peaceful political activism, goes against all labor rights regulations. To add insult to the injury, El Droubi was not paid for the work he actually completed during the month of April, prior to his detention, the letter reads.
“Moreover, El Droubi received humiliating treatment from your Cairo office manager, Mr. Mohamed Abdel Gawad, who even instructed office staff to supervise El Droubi’s collection of his own personal items after ridiculing his human rights activities, it continues.
According to a lawyer with the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Gasser Abdel Razek, El Droubi’s case can be seen in two contradictory lenses.
“Under the labor law an employee may have his contract terminated if the employer believes the employee is voluntarily not showing up to work, so if they [employer] believes that he voluntarily put himself in a position to be arrested, then he can be fired, Abdel Razek says.
However, he continues to say that it is in the interpretation of the law that is difficult in this case, because, according to Abdel Razek, it is obvious that El Droubi did not voluntarily leave his position.
El Droubi was arrested while playing football in the street during an all night sit-in at the press syndicate on April 24. He was detained for 33 days.
Sharkawy and El Droubi’s circumstances have highlighted the difficulty in maintaining an opposition, whose numbers are stagnating. However, pre-democracy activists believe that continued resolve would allow their numbers to grow.
“We have to stay strong and support all those who are going through tough times, Fadi Iskander comments. “If we maintain our strength we will see change.