CAIRO: A third detained member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has been admitted to the intensive care unit at Manial University Hospital after developing a serious heart condition in Tora prison, but prison officials have denied him access to treatment, the group said in a statement.
Hassan Zalat, who is one of 40 Brotherhood members currently being tried before a military court on charges of money laundering and membership of a banned organization, was admitted to intensive care and put on a respirator after his health deteriorated inside the prison.
Brotherhood sources say that Zalat suffers from high blood pressure and clogged arteries and may require bypass surgery. Manial University Hospital says it does not have the resources to treat him.
His family has requested that he be moved to a more specialized hospital for the surgery and has offered to pay the full cost, but prison officials have so far refused to approve the transfer.
“Zalat is supposed to have open-heart surgery, but the regime won’t allow it, said Ibrahim El Houdaiby, board member of ikhwanweb.com, the MB’s official website.
“He has been sick for a long time – when they arrested him back in February he had just had a heart operation, he added. “He was arrested out of his bed and carried in to the police truck [wrapped] in blankets.
Zalat is the third Brotherhood detainee to develop serious health problems while in prison, and in all three cases there have been complaints that the state is denying prisoners proper medical care.
Two weeks ago Mohamed Hussein, a member of the Brotherhood’s political bureau who was detained in mid-August, suffered an acute heart attack in Tora prison. He was rushed to El Qasr El Aini hospital, where doctors inserted a catheter to clear blocked arteries in tight security measures.
Khayrat El Shater, the deputy leader of the MB, has been detained since December and is also standing trial before a military court. He is a diabetic who last month developed a severe infection in his leg as a consequence of high blood sugar.
His family fears that without immediate medical attention his leg may have to be amputated, although prison officials refuse to let him see a specialist and say he can be treated at the prison hospital.
The Shater family says that the prison hospital is unsanitary and unsafe and that doctors there are not specialists in diabetes.
“The hospital in the prison is even dirtier and worse than the prison itself, his daughter Zahraa previously told Daily News Egypt. “We would rather he stay in that cage than be sent to that dirty hospital.
The Brotherhood is Egypt’s most influential opposition group. It holds 88 seats in the 454 member People’s Assembly, which it won during a brief period of political opening that coincided with elections in the fall of 2005.
More than 600 members of the group have been detained since December.