A press conference held Monday, as part of a campaign entitled “the girls must be released” demanding the release of 10 female detainees from Damietta, warned of the “deteriorating situation” of the detainees, who have been in prison for almost 11 months.
Aida Seif El–Dawla, the director of El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, said the 10 girls have been held for this period without being interrogated by the prosecution.
She added that the health conditions of the detainees are deteriorating, continuing that the families are also being harassed by the police. The group added that “detentions are arbitrary and are made without charges”.
The Ministry of Interior refused to comment on the demands of the campaign, stating only that the case is under investigation by the judiciary.
The incident dates back to May 2015, when riot police clashed with a group of protesters in Damietta, leading to the death of one police conscript and the arrest of 13 female protesters.
At the time, police said clashes took place after alleged members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood organised a protest in Sorour Square in Damietta. During the clashes, a human shield of 70 female protesters was formed, chanting against the police and the army.
Following the clashes, police forces raided the homes of a number of individuals suspected of participating in the violence. Further, riot police surrounded the village of Al-Basartah with armoured vehicles and plainclothes police officers.
Al-Basartah village is said to be a “Muslim Brotherhood stronghold”, with minor protests held in the streets of the villages almost every Friday. Egyptian police have been engaged in weekly clashes with the Brotherhood and pro-Mohamed Morsi affiliates following the ouster of this former president in July 2013, although protests have major diminished over time.