Egypt’s Ministry of Interior authorised an exceptional visit for all prisoners on the occasion of Prophet’s Mohamed birthday, according to its statement Sunday. The visits, which are additional to the number of visits already authorised for prisoners, are allowed to take place from 24 December to 1 January.
The “exceptional” visits constitute part of the ministry’s efforts to uphold human rights standards and adopt a modern approach to methods of punishment, according to the statement.
The ministry has sent medical convoys to a number of prisons and police stations between 14 and 17 December to offer medical services to prisoners and detainees.
Two of these convoys were sent to Tora and Al-Nahda prisons, giving the prisoners the necessary treatment for any diagnosed illness.
The medical convoys came amid criticism by activists and families of prisoners of the deteriorating conditions inside prisons and police stations, especially Al-Aqrab Prison.
The ministry has recently allowed families of those held within the prison to visit their relatives and bring in medications and blankets into the prison since Thursday.
Despite the recent acquiescence to the demands, some families continued to complain that the changes are not substantial but rather a palliative measure ahead of a scheduled visit by the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR).
According to the Association of Relatives of the Al-Aqrab Prison Detainees, the recent visits were limited to few minutes, some visits as short as a minute, and visitors were subjected to long waiting times.
Some families of the prisoners however said they were completely denied visiting their family members and were banned from providing them with warm clothes and food.