In a statement released Thursday, September 3, Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed the deaths of four inmates in Egyptian prisons between August 31 and September 2, 2020. Denouncing the “negligence” of prison authorities, the organization said that “a 62-year-old Egyptian man, whose family based in the United States has repeatedly pleaded for his release on health grounds, died on September 2, 2020 in Tora Prison in Cairo after two years in detention without trial”.
Accused of belonging to a terrorist group, Ahmed Abdel Nabi Mahmoud was arrested in 2018 and died in prison two years later. Based on a report from the local NGO Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, HRW reported the deaths of Sobhi al-Sakka, Chaabane Hussein Khaled, and Abdel Rahman Youssef Zawal, who died on August 31 and September 1 in Alexandria (north), Fayoum (west), and the capital, respectively.
Commenting on these incidents, HRW’s Middle East deputy director, Joe Stork, stressed that “authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of Ahmed Mahmoud’s death to determine whether there was medical negligence (...) Detainees and prisoners continue to die while incarcerated in Egypt despite frequent requests for proper care. This reflects unacceptable negligence on the part of Egyptian prison authorities.”
According to human rights NGOs, there are approximately 60.000 political prisoners in Egypt.