Gehad el-Haddad starts a hunger strike at Cairo’s Aqrab Prison

February 24, 2016

Former international spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gehad el-Haddad, started a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest against inhumane prison conditions, his mother said in a Facebook post.

Mona Emam, El-Haddad’s mother, said her son, along with two other high-profile political prisoners, would start a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest against mistreatment of political prisoners at the notorious maximum-security Aqrab prison.

Al-Wasat Party leader Essam Sultan will also join the hunger strike, she said.

According to Emam, prison officials deny her son access to clothes, food and water from outside prison, which forces him and others to eat from the “deadly prison food” which is provided in tiny amounts “insufficient to keep them alive”.

“More than two and a half years in these brutal conditions, in solitary graves without sunlight and without windows,” Emam said, referring to the incarceration of her son in solitary confinement. She added that recently prison guards had closed the only opening in the doors of cells from which prisoners receive food. Emam is worried that closing this small window means her son cannot even cry for help if anything happens to him.

Emam complained from “humiliating treatment” of both prisoners and their relatives as visitations are severely restricted. Families have to arrive at prison on the previous night in order to catch a visit. For those lucky enough to see their imprisoned relatives, they see them from behind glass windows for only few minutes.

The objective of this prison policy is to slowly kill prisoners, she said.

“My son Gehad has turned into a skeleton and has been transferred to hospital several times after losing consciousness due to malnutrition,” she said, adding that she expects more detainees to join the hunger strike if prison authorities insist on their inhumane treatment.

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