A detainee in Borg Al-Arab prison is slowly dying as attempts to transfer him to an equipped hospital keep failing, his wife told Daily News Egypt on Saturday.
Adel Abdel Karim, who used to work as a lawyer, has been detained for nearly a year and half without trial, accused of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
The family is currently fighting to transfer Abdel-Karim to Al-Miri public hospital where he can find more efficient medical equipment for his condition. On Thursday, the police van transferred him, but the doctors’ working day had ended by the time he arrived, so he was transferred back to the prison hospital.
“When he went the prison he did not suffer from any diseases. In August, amid the striking heat wave and the crowdedness in the prison cell, he began fainting several times for several days and developed respiratory problems,” said Om Abdel-Rahman, Abdel Karim’s wife.
In August, the prison hospital found a blood clot in one of Abdel Karim’s heart arteries and he was transferred to Al-Ameriyah public hospital, the nearest healthcare facility to the prison. As a political detainee, the notorious restricted security for his travels caused a 24-hour delay in his transfer to the hospital that left him with further health complications.
“The hospital was very ill-equipped and he wasn’t received by the doctors for the needed examinations or medical treatment,” she added.
Abdel Karim’s health complications led to a semi-dysfunctional cardiac arrest. “He entered the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) under heavy security, handcuffed to the bed and not allowed any visits. I visited him once after acquiring permission from the prosecution,” he wife said.
The doctors required further medical examinations, but the national security personnel refused to transfer him to a private hospital, even on the family’s expense, because he is a prisoner.
“His health deteriorated and he lost more than 20 kg. I sent many complaints to the prosecutor general and general lawyer of Alexandria, attaching all his medical reports, to release him on health grounds but no response was given,” she concluded.
Another detainee in the same prison, Anwar Al-Azoumy, died last Saturday due to an epileptic fit and not being transferred to a hospital, after one year of detention.
Health conditions inside detention facilities have been worsening at alarming levels. The rate of arrests largely increased after the Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed, causing crowdedness in prison cells and the death of dozens of detainees.
A total of 52 individuals have died inside detention centres across Cairo and Giza since January, according to an official at 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.
Poet Omar Hazek, who stayed in the same cell with Al-Azoumy during his detention period, said on his Facebook page that several detainees have been facing serious and ongoing medical negligence.