Ministry of Interior held an event on Monday to show the real conditions of Egyptian prisons and the ministry’s recent services provided to inmates across the country.
The event discussed the development of prisons’ hospitals and human rights situation in prisons, in response to the recent claims of bad conditions in Egypt’s places of detention.
Officials from the ministry, individuals working in the prison sector, prominent figures, and members of parliament attended the event, as well as representatives of the United Nations and the African Union.
The event also highlighted the conditions of prisoners and aspects of social, health, educational, and cultural care recently provided to them.
On Sunday, Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) released a video reporting a recent visit by State Security Prosecutors to the Tora prison complex on 22 October 2019 which showed health services and food provided inside the prison.
The SIS said in a statement, “the video shows the actual situation regarding health services and food supply in Egyptian prisons, and the real psychological and cultural state of prisoners in Tora Prison.”
It added, “Tora prison represents a sample of the real situation in other Egyptian prisons.”
The SIS said in its statement that some are “attempting to misrepresent the situation and propagate lies about it.”
The release of the video came after a group of independent UN human rights experts announced on Friday that they had found “credible evidence” that “inadequate prison conditions” may have “directly” led to the death of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in June.
The UN experts also warned that thousands of other detainees may be at “severe risk.”
On Sunday, Egypt’s Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Omar Marwan, and the head of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), Mohamed Fayek, headed to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review session on Egypt on Wednesday.
Several meetings were held between ministries and civil society institutions to review the country’s efforts in the human rights sector in preparation of the Geneva session.
Marwan said these meetings showed the Egyptian government’s adherence to its international human rights commitments, as it has implemented several recommendations adopted by the previous Universal Periodic Review session in 2014.
During recent years, Egypt has repeatedly rejected claims of deteriorated human rights conditions levelled by international human rights organisations, describing it as a foreign interference in Egypt’s affairs.
Last week, the Egyptian parliament’s foreign relations committee said that Egypt has recently been the target of systematic campaigns to tarnish the country’s image with respect to human rights.
“Egypt rejects these flawed and politicised campaigns, and also rejects any form of interference in its internal affairs,” a statement by the committee said, in reference to two recent reports, issued by the EU Parliament and the London-based Amnesty International, criticising the country’s human rights situation.
In late October, a delegation from the parliament’s human rights committee, including Alaa Abed, the head of the committee, arrived at the prison area of Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate to check the human rights situation.
Earlier in October, the delegation arrived at the headquarters of the Alexandria Security Directorate as the first leg of a visit organised by the committee to inspect police departments in the governorate, during the fifth and last session of the parliament, to check the application of human rights standards inside prisons and police stations nationwide.