Egypt Independent

Egypt organizes guided tour at Morsi’s prison after UN report slams “brutal” conditions



Egypt’s Interior Ministry organized a guided tour on Monday at the Tora jail complex for a group of MPs as well as journalists, following the release of a UN report condemning the alleged brutal conditions in which late former President Mohamed Morsi was held in, up until his death on June 2019.

In light of the third edition of the annual “Egyptian Prisons Forum”, Egyptian authorities invited an assembly of officials and reporters to view the Tora prison themselves.

There they toured a furniture exhibition created by prisoners, a farm housing cows as well as ostriches, football matches and a yard with food grilled by convicts.

General Ashraf Ezz al-Arab, the head of prisons department at the interior ministry, said that the trip comes to condemn the critics who pushed a false narrative.

The visit came two days after an independent UN panel noted in a statement that the death of Egypt’s ex-president Morsi could amount to “a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing.”

“Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” a statement from the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights said.

The UN panel further alleged that through various trustworthy sources, they obtained evidence showing serious human rights violations practiced in Egyptian prisons against “thousands” of detainees, who might possibly die soon from unsuitable health conditions.

In the report, released on November 8, UN experts voiced concerns that the human rights violations against the Egyptian prisoners are an “intentional”, “consistent” practice by the current government.

Morsi who spent nearly years in solitary confinement according to the report, “was denied life-saving and ongoing care for his diabetes and high blood pressure”. The report also displayed medical reports stating that Morsi lost vision in one eye, in addition to going through a diabetic coma.

The statement added that special rapporteur Agnes Callamard alongside her UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention asserted that they repeatedly warned Egyptian authorities from the harsh conditions that led to noticeable deterioration in Morsi’s health to the point of killing him, according to the statement.

However, the UN team claimed that Egyptian authorities did not take a step in response to their warnings in order to address the issue.

On the flipside, Alaa Abed, head of the Parliament’s human rights committee who talked to Associated Press, stressed on the good treatment that Morsi received during his detention. He also described the allegations that were documented in the freshly released in the UN report as an attempt to slur the Egyptian government.

“But I visited Morsi several times … and he was staying in a big room, he had all his medications, food, drinks, everything he needed,” Abed said, rejecting all of the UN’s panels accusations.

Likewise, the deputy head of the parliament’s human rights committee Margaret Azer commented on the report, insisting that the data presented in the document was untrue and promotes false information supporting terrorist groups, the Arabi21 news outlet reported.

No official response from the Egyptian government has been issued yet.