By Aya Nader
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) formed a committee on Saturday to ensure the implementation of minimum standard regulations of prisoners’ treatment following complaints of ill-treatment of activists Ahmed Maher, Mohammad Adel, Ahmed Douma, and Alaa Abdel Fattah in Tora Prison.
The committee met with the four activists, and issued a report on Sunday detailing the “suffering” of activists under detainment and asking the Ministry of Interior to end its mistreatment of detainees. The activists have not been allowed to meet with their lawyers since their imprisonment, the report stated.
“Several lawyers issued requests [to meet the prisoners], but we did not receive any response,” said Noor Al-Dinn Fahmy, Maher’s lawyer.
Dr Leila Sweif, Abdel Fattah’s mother, confirmed this, saying that the state “prosecution refuses to issue permits for the lawyers [to convene with the imprisoned activists]”.
The report stated that the detainees have also been prevented from communicating with family members, despite regulations permitting family visits during long detention periods. However, Dr Sweif confirmed that she visits her son, and that as of last Wednesday Maher, Douma and Adel have been allowed family visits.
The prosecution did not respond to the prison hunger strike initiated by the activists, which lasted for three weeks, the statement added.
The activists spend more than 20 hours daily in their private cells, and are allowed only four hours of exercise. Fahmy said that originally they were only allotted two hours, but after the strike it was raised to four hours a day. During the strike, Douma’s blood sugar level dropped significantly, putting his life in danger, according to the committee’s report
The prisoners are forced to stay in their cells on vacations, official holidays, and even Friday prayers, sometimes up to two days in a row. There are also restrictions on their mail, said the NCHR report.
April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher, member Mohamed Adel and prominent activist Ahmed Douma were handed a three-year prison sentence on 22 December 2013, while high-profile activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah has been in detention since 28 November 2013.