CAIRO: Fifty Sinai detainees in Borg El-Arab prison near the North Coast ended a hunger strike to protest their “unjust imprisonment and to precipitate their release.
Khaled Aly from the Hisham Mubarak Center, which represents some of the detainees, told Daily News Egypt that the hunger strike had ended, but did not have further details on why the prisoners ended the strike.
Al-Masy Al-Youm had reported Monday that the detainees had submitted a request to the prison administration asking for their release after being detained for more than a year without charge. Taken into custody at varying times, some of them have been in prison for five years.
The 50 detainees are a group of many Sinai residents incarcerated after a series of bombings targeting the tourism sector in 2004 in Taba, Sharm El Shiekh and Dahab. Additionally, arrests were made to curb arms trafficking from Sinai into the Gaza strip.
In their statement, obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm, the detainees said, “The Ministry of Interior has refused to release us although we were unjustly arrested several years ago. No charges have been proven with regard to any of the bombings that occurred in Sinai or arms trafficking, for which we have been arrested.
North Sinai Tagammu Party member Hussein El-Qayem told Daily News Egypt that the Borg El-Arab detainees were subjected to beatings and abuse in response to recent resident uprisings in Rafah.
“The detainees want to be released, he said, “and their families are planning a protest near where the UN border troops are stationed.
El-Qayem added that 30 of the detainees’ families have banded together to organize protests on behalf of their sons.
Their statement, undersigned by Kamal Eid and Ouda Ramadan, said, “We receive the worst possible treatment from the prison administration and we already live in bad conditions, particularly because we are denied family visits except once every six weeks.
The detainees asked to be freed in light of the recent release of other Sinai residents from other prisons. None have been released from Borg El-Arab prison, however. They threatened to go on hunger strike if they were not freed. The strike ended yesterday.