By Daily News Egypt
The campaign against solitary confinement is gaining wider support from political activists across social media platforms.
Dozens of activists, lawyers, former detainees, and human rights advocates in Egypt changed their Facebook profile pictures into an avatar of prison bars covering their faces.
This move is part of a campaign launched earlier in June against solitary confinement cases. The campaign aims to shed light on the unfair conditions in solitary confinement and to document the prisoners’ stories.
The blogging campaign is expected to last until the end of this month with scheduled blogging waves on Sundays and Tuesdays.
On Sunday, as the activists changed their profile pictures, they also wrote about several prisoners who are currently detained in solitary confinement, claiming that some have already extended the maximum legal duration of solitary confinement.
According to the Prisons Regulation Act, solitary confinement is a penalty that should last for a maximum of 30 days. It also should not be applied to any prisoner without prior investigations or summoning witnesses.
There are currently a number of cases of solitary confinement according to the campaign. This includes political activists Ahmed Douma and Amr Ali of the 6 April Youth Movement, journalist Youssef Shaban, human rights lawyer Malek Adly, and Ultras White Knights member Sayed Moshagheb.
Meanwhile, wife of Ahmed Douma, Nourhan Hefzy, sent a letter to the parliament’s specialised human rights committee head Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, pleading for him to end her husband’s solitary confinement penalty which she said has exceeded 30 days.
“Douma has been in solitary confinement for more than two years,” she said in the letter. “It is an unbearable condition for any human being.”
According to Hefzy, her husband is also not allowed visits from anyone other than first-degree relatives and is only allowed to get out of his cell for two hours a day.
Following the submission of several complaints to the National Council for Human Rights and the prison’s directory, Hefzy requested in her letter to Al-Sadat to have an appointment to speak of her complaint and call for measures to resolve Douma’s issue.
“Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular lockdown, Supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique,” United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez told the General Assembly in 2011.