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Egypt: End Gehad el-Haddad`s solitary confinement and denial of medical care

 The continued appalling treatment of Gehad el-Haddad in the notorious al-Aqrab prison is cruel, inhuman and unacceptable, said Amnesty International today, in response to fresh information that prison authorities have confiscated his wheelchair and other belongings and moved him back to solitary confinement after spending a month in Liman Tora prison awaiting medical treatment which he did not receive.

“Amnesty International is deeply concerned about Gehad el-Haddad’s deteriorating health and the abusive conditions in which he is being held. The inhumane conditions Gehad has been subjected to since his detention in 2013, including prolonged solitary confinement, have resulted in much of his ongoing suffering, pain and the need for a wheelchair. When he arrived in prison he was a healthy man in his early 30’s. Now he can’t move to perform ablutions or use the bathroom without help,” Said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

“Gehad has been in solitary confinement since September 2013. His lawyers and family members submitted dozens of complaints to the Public Prosecutor, the Ministry of Interior and the court before which Gehad is being tried demanding an improvement in the conditions in which he is being held, including the provision of a bed, allowing him family visits, permitting his relatives to bring him food and providing him with essential medical treatment and assistance. All these complaints went unanswered.”

On 8 April, Prison authorities moved Gehad to Liman Tora prison because he was not able to move without assistance. On the one occasion, his wife was able to visit him, he told her that he had been moved to Liman because the prison doctor had advised him to get a medical scan.  However, prison authorities have refused to allow him to receive the scan.

On 10 May, Gehad was removed from his cell to attend a court session. His family were informed by relatives of other prisoners that after the court session the warden of Liman Tora prison refused to allow him back into Liman Tora prison and ordered prison guards to take him to al-Aqrab prison. The warden has said that these were the orders of the National Security Agency. Gehad’s brother, Abdullah, has told Amnesty International that the prison warden refused to allow him to enter the prison to take his money from the canteen account.

On 7 May, Amnesty International launched a report titled Crushing Humanity: The Abuse of Solitary Confinement in Egypt’s Prisons, which featured Gehad el-Haddad’s case of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement. Amnesty International concluded that el-Haddad`s prison treatment amounts to torture given the time he has spent in solitary confinement and other abuses he has been subjected to.

On 10 May, prison authorities confiscated Gehad el-Haddad’s wheelchair and other personal items when he was in a court session and returned him to solitary confinement in Al Aqrab Prison.

His father Essam Haddad, the former presidential advisor to Mohamed Morsi, has been in prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement for 23 hours a day since September 2013 and denied family visits since October 2016.

“Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to end these violations and respect Gehad el-Haddad’s right to dignity and protection from torture and other ill-treatment.” Said Najia Bounaim.

Background

Gehad el-Haddad is a former Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson. He has been held in indefinite solitary confinement since his arrest on 17 September 2013. He was locked inside his solitary cell for 24 hours a day for the first 18 days of his detention in Liman Tora prison. Eventually, prison authorities allowed him an hour of daily exercise outside the cell before moving him to indefinite solitary confinement in al-Aqrab prison in January 2014. El-Haddad was denied family visits for almost a year from September 2016 to August 2017. Family visits then resumed but were restricted to just 10 minutes for each visit. Prison authorities have not allowed his family to see him since  March 2018.