In an unexpected move, the head of Maadi prosecution released three detainees who were being held for longer than the legal duration allows.
The prosecution head’s sudden visit to the police station followed several complaints filed against the crowding inside the detention cells in the station, and illegally holding detainees in custody.
The head of investigations at the police station was reportedly interrogated by the prosecution head regarding the detention status of three detainees. They were supposed to be referred to the prosecution 24 hours after their detention, but were being held illegally. The police station’s head of investigations was not able to provide answers, and was also interrogated on the inhumane conditions of the prisoners inside the cells and the large number of people held inside the cells.
The three detainees were referred to the prosecution as an investigation was opened into the incident of their illegal detention.
According to the prisons regulation act and the penal code, detainees should be referred to the specialised prosecution after 24 hours. Pre-trial detention can either be renewed with a pending investigation afterwards, or detainees can be released on bail with pending investigations. The maximum legally permitted duration of pending investigations with renewal or bail is two years. People held in custody should then be referred to court.
Over the past three years, several cases of prolonged pretrial detention and deteriorated conditions inside cells resulting from crowding and poor facilities have been recorded. In some cases this had led to prisoners dying while in in detention.
There has been a surge in the number of deaths inside police station custodies. Four people died in Tora Prison Hospital and the Matariya police station last week.