The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) resumed its inspection of Egyptian prisons Tuesday with a delegation of members from lawyers and executives visiting the Port Said Prison.
According to an official statement by the NCHR released on Thursday, the delegation met with detainees who had filed complaints to NCHR in an attempt to survey the living and health conditions in the prison.
“All interviewed female prisoners agreed the common problem is their long period of detention which extended up to 10 months so far,” the statement read. However, the NCHR report contended that prison’s administration provides prisoners access to medical treatment and exercise, a claim that has been impugned by other sources.
The report noted that the prison failed to provide detained students with the mandated access to exam centres whereby students could continue their studies. The report attributed this failure to the remoteness of the Port Said Prison. Further, in response to prisoner’s complaints that bathrooms are without doors, the NCHR delegation quoted prison authorities that claimed that the door could be used as a weapon in a fight between prisoners.
The delegation met with male prisoners who stated that the prison’s distance from their homes excessively burdened family members who travelled to meet them. However, as some of those who complained are detainees, their transfer to another prison is contingent on approval by the prosecution.
The NCHR report called for an improvement to prison’s infrastructure so that all prisoners are allowed to exercise. The report also highlighted the importance of applying standard prison conduct in relation to the allocation of a separate room for visits in the presence of an official from the prison administration.
The NCHR’s visit is part of a plan decided in February in coordination with the Ministry of Interior to improve the conditions of prisons located in Egypt’s remote governorates.
A NCHR delegation constituted of seven of NCHR members inspected Al-Minya Prison on Monday. However, the council has not published a report of the conditions of the prison.