The Rights Office of the Ahrar movement reported that a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, died in prison due to injuries sustained from torture.
The statement made by the Salafi-leaning revolutionary youth group, established after the 25 January Revolution, was released last week, but did not contain the date of teaching assistant Abdel Rahman Kamel’s alleged death.
Kamal was said to have been “kidnapped” by security forces last September, after which he was held in Al-Azouly prison, inside a military camp in the city of Ismailia, according to the group.
The group added that Kamel’s family submitted a report to the Prosecutor General in order to receive and bury the body, as well as open an investigation into the incident. The family also accused the head of Homeland Security (formerly National Security) of “kidnapping” their son.
The Cairo University spokesman of the Students Against Coup (SAC) movement, who goes by the name ‘Hassan’, said that “although Kamel’s body hasn’t been found yet”, former prisoners in Al-Azouly prison who have been released confirmed his death.
“Although the details surrounding the incident are not 100% confirmed, we appreciate that anti-coup social media pages are circulating the news to spread awareness about Kamel and the hundreds of detainees who face torture,” Hassan added.
Al-Azouly military prison is known for holding anti-government detainees, including high-profile Sinai militants. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported that the detainees in this prison face torture and ill-treatment during interrogations.
Government opponents often call Al-Azouly prison “Egypt’s Abu Ghraib”, referring to the Iraq prison that became notorious for violations against detainees committed by US military personnel.
Since the military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, thousands of anti-government protesters have been jailed, with over 800 sent to military tribunals, according to human rights organisations.
Islamist students, activists and party members suffered a heavy crackdown following Morsi’s ouster. The Salafi Front said last week that scores of detainees in Al-Akrab (“The Scorpion”) maximum security prison have started a hunger strike to protest their ill treatment.
A prisoner died in Menufiya last November due to inadequate healthcare in prison, according to his lawyer. The deceased, a doctor and head of dermatology department in Ain Shams University named Tarek Al-Ghandour, suffered from liver dysfunction and was imprisoned in Abou Zaabal and then Wadi El-Natrun prisons.
At least 52 individuals have died inside detention centres across Cairo and Giza since January 2014, according to the official numbers from the Forensic Medicine Authority. A further 80 individuals have died whilst in detention across Egyptian cities between July 2013 and January 2014, according to WikiThawra, an independent observatory that documents fatalities in prisons.
Major General Abdelfattah Othman, the deputy interior minister’s assistant for public relations, dismissed complaints by rights groups last July, saying that today prisons in Egypt have become “more like hotels”.