Saturday, 23 March 2019 09:15 GMT

Egypt- Ministry denies worsening conditions in Al-Aqrab Prison

(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The Ministry of Interior responded on Monday to claims that the conditions of inmates in Al-Aqrab Prison are deteriorating.

A representative from the ministry said the claims of torture inside prisons are "attacks on the police apparatus".

The comments come as harsh criticism has been directed to the interior ministry, accusing it of "mistreating" and "torturing" inmates in Al-Aqrab Prison. On Sunday, tens of family members gathered in front of the Press Syndicate to protest the treatment of the prisoners, demanding that the ministry allow winter clothing and visits.

The relatives at the protest, which was organised the by the Association of Relatives of the Al-Aqrab Prison Detainees, raised pictures of the detainees and told stories of alleged violations.

The ministry, however, said that the claims are aimed at acquiring "personal gains", and "overlook the sacrifices of police officers in such a critical period."

In response to complaints from detainees' family members, the ministry added the Prisons Department is under constant legal supervision to guarantee the suitable treatment of detainees with a view to ensuring their human rights. The source asserted that the ministry is open to receiving delegations from human rights organisations.

He added that the prisons aim to "reform" not to "torture" detainees, asserting that the minister of interior has ordered that there should be no violations against inmates.

Al-Aqrab Prison was built in 1993 under the reign of notorious minister of interior Habib Al-Adly, and hosted many political prisoners and high-profile inmates accused of being involved in terrorist activities. It continued to be used to host defendants accused of violence and terrorism.

The infamous prison saw the deaths of three Islamist leaders in custody in the second half of 2015. The latest of these was Essam Derbala, the leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and head of the Building and Development Party.

Commenting on the claims that the ministry does not provide winter clothing, the source said extra blankets were provided to every inmate, in addition to the basic winter clothing given to every inmate. He added that such claims are attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to stir conflict before the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.

Since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the number of prisoners has exponentially increased, with reported violations reaching a peak last November.

With reports of deaths and torture in detention on the rise in Egyptian police stations and prisons, state officials often respond to the accusations by asserting that the violations are "individual acts".

Egypt- Ministry denies worsening conditions in Al-Aqrab Prison

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