The Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday the beginning of construction on a new central prison located in Qalyubia.
The Central Obour prison is set to be constructed in the industrial area located in Obour city and maintains it jurisdiction within Qalyubia, according to state-run publication Al-Waqa’ Al-Masriya.
Prisoners serving time in the new prison will be those who are not serving sentences with hard labour, who do not have underlying medical conditions, and those who are serving prison sentences for less than three months, according to Article 396 of the 1956 Prison Regulations Law.
At least seven prisons have been constructed since July 2013.
Prison conditions in Egypt have been one of the major issues raised by human rights organisations in their criticism of the regime.
Members of the National Council for Human Rights have been critical of harsh prison conditions in Egypt in addition to the Interior Ministry’s reluctance in allowing members from the NCHR to conduct prison inspections.
They claim that the majority of detainees, political, or otherwise, suffer from deteriorated conditions inside prisons, including a lack of food, drink, warm clothing, and medical treatment.
In addition, many detainees are held in remand in periods that extend past the confines of the law.
According to a report issued by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), 1,464 Egyptians are being held illegally as they have been held past the allowed period of imprisonment.
Many of those detainees are held of charges of illegal protesting, assaulting police officers, membership to an outlawed group, and intent to commit crimes during protests.
EIPR claim that the reason behind poor prison conditions is the absence of accountability mechanisms for prison authorities and officers.
According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom, 28 people died in 2015 due to poor living standards and conditions while in detention.
In April, a prisoner named Hassan Al-Gamal died in Mansoura prison due to a stroke. Al-Gamal’s family claim his health was deteriorating and made several attempts for his release, but each time they were refused.
The Interior Ministry has constantly denied accusations of mistreatment of prisoners, claiming that no torture exists inside prisons and dismissing these allegations as rumours.