A prisoner at Tora Prison died Thursday, due to what opposition blocs referred to as medical neglect by prison officials in providing necessary care.
Mohamed Al-Said was a defendant in the Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis case, which involves 200 people accused of assassinating top security officials and planning attacks on police and army personnel across Egypt.
According to lawyer Khaled Al-Masry, who follows up on cases similar to Al-Said’s, the prisoner died in a hospital after being transferred from prison. The body was later transferred to Zeinhom Morgue.
The legal office of the ultraconservative group the Salafi Front said: “Al-Said suffered kidney failure and was refused any treatment by the prison officials.”
The same accusation was echoed by the now-outlawed Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which claims that prison officials knew about Al-Said’s illness and “yet left him to die”.
However, one representative from the Ministry of Interior’s media office refuted claims that “prisoners are denied medical care”, saying all prison facilities are accompanied by hospitals and clinics.
Unofficial accounts argue that Tora Prison witnessed similar cases in which prisoners died due to their health conditions. In August, former Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya leader Essam Derbala died due to what the group said was “intentional neglect of medical care”. The authorities, however, argued that his death was caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure. Muslim Brotherhood member Farid Ismail also died with similar accusations of intentional neglect.
In August, a National Council of Human Rights (NCHR) delegation visited Tora Prison and claimed they witnessed no major violation of prisoners’ rights during their visit. The delegation made only minor recommendations, including changing old beds and creating a shaded area for families queuing to visit.
The NCHR delegation visited the complex following numerous reports of violations and deaths.
Al-Said, 47, is said to be a father of seven children. Sources at the Salafi Front said he requested to be treated outside prison but his requests were denied.
He was arrested last year on charges of belonging to Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, in which defendants are accused of committing 54 criminal acts, among which are forming and running a terrorist organisation aiming to “disrupt the rule of law and prevent state institutions from carrying out their duties”.