Many have criticised the deterioration of detained photojournalist Esraa El-Taweel’s health condition pending transfer to Qasr Al-Ainy hospital to continue her physiotherapy course.
El-Taweel (23) disappeared on 1 June and was found in Al-Qanater Women’s prison two weeks later. She is suffering a bullet injury that hit her leg and spine while taking photos during a protest on the 25 January Revolution’s second anniversary in 2012.
On Sunday, Egypt’s Medicine Syndicate, or Doctors’ Syndicate issued a note to the Prosecutor General Nabil Sadeq, Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, and the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), calling for an urgent visit of physiotherapists and neurosurgeons to examine El-Taweel’s case and provide her with needed medication.
The prison doctor refused to give her any medication, believing it is a permanent disability that will not recover, the memo stated.
According to El-Taweel’s medical report issued by her personal doctor on 22 August, she suffers a live bullet in her spinal cord, as clarified by an MRI examination. The doctor allowed her to access to continue her physiotherapy and medical treatment in order to avoid further complications and a potential setback.
The EMS memo was a response to a rescue call from her family and lawyer about her health condition. During a recent interrogation with a prosecutor, who further renewed her detention, El-Taweel said she made progress by walking a small distance without assistance.
“This is the eighth time we call on the prosecution for El-Taweel’s treatment with another hospital other than the prison. Her family would take care of the expenses but there was no response. Her case is deteriorating,” El-Taweel’s lawyer, Halem Henish, who works at Al-Nadeem centre, told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday.
Despite the slight improvement in El-Taweel’s walking abilities, the fact that there are no physiotherapists in the prison’s hospital imposes risks on her health.
“We call on either her release on the grounds of low health or allowing her access for a physiotherapy in Qasr Al-Eini hospital,” Henish said.
El-Taweel’s detention was renewed since her arrest in June on charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and publishing false reports that distort Egypt’s reputation, by the supreme court of homeland security.
On the day of her arrest, El-Taweel was having dinner in Maadi with Omar Ali and Sohaib Saad Al-Haddad. It was reported that Ali was taken to Al-Aqrab prison and Al-Haddad is at Tora prison.
They are currently standing a military trial after appearing on a video posted by the Defence Ministry’s official page, claiming they were involved in killings and explosions, in partnership with other Brotherhood members.
A total of 215 people were arrested in similar conditions, by enforced disappearances, during August and September; 63 of them appeared in police stations and central security forces camps, and prosecutions, or on videos published by the Ministry of Interior, according to the independent observatory Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms.
Health conditions inside detention facilities have been worsening at alarming levels as rates of arrests largely increased in the wake of banning the Brotherhood, causing crowds and deaths of dozens of detainees and prisoners.
On Saturday, detainee Anwar Al-Azoumy in Borg Al-Arab prison of Alexandria died because of an epileptic fit and was not transferred to a hospital, after one year of detention.