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Messages From Abu Zabal Prison
70% of the detainees have been in prison for more than 13 years. 40 young men have died behind bars due to beating, deliberate medical neglect or oppression! Ikhwanweb is publishing two messages straight out of Abu Zabal prison, to show the tragedy that the detainees are facing in Egypt, under a tyrannical repressive regime t
Sunday, March 25,2007 00:00
by Ikhwanweb

70% of the detainees have been in prison for more than 13 years. 40 young men have died behind bars due to beating, deliberate medical neglect or oppression!

Ikhwanweb is publishing two messages straight out of Abu Zabal prison, to show the tragedy that the detainees are facing in Egypt, under a tyrannical repressive regime that does not respect court rulings.

First Message

The First Message Says:

I send this message in response to the call of Counselor Mahmoud Khodeiri, the deputy chief justice of the Court of Cassation and head of the Judges’ Club in Alexandria, in which he demanded a bold and constructive attitude from judges who are concerned with the issue of throwing Egyptian young men behind bars for many years without any firm attitude from judges, writers and lawyers. This is in order to get all these detainees immediately released to end the suffering of their families. The counselor urged families of detainees and the detainees themselves to write about their suffering and detentions to free and independent newspapers.
We, detainees of high-security prison of Abou Zabal, were impressed by the call of Counselor Mohamed Khodeiri, after we lost any hope of any call to defend us so that we get released.
I have, writer of this message, been detained since July 1993. Despite the repeated and successive acquittals, I haven’t been released and haven’t sees daylight yet. Every time I get released, they would send me to the state security branch in my residential area to remain there for a week or eight days, and then I am returned to this horrible terrible prison again. This has been taking place during the past fourteen years.

We are deprived of any human rights in our country. Like all prisoners in this prison, and since I was arrested, I have been seeing my family members- including my old, grief-stricken father and mother- only through two fences, which are one meter apart from each other, and for only thirty minutes. During this visit, my father and mother stand on their feet only with the help of my sisters.

As for the suffering of the families, the prison administration mandates that they submit a visit permit obtained from Al-Galaa Street, the only place that gives this sort of permit nationwide, three days before the visit.  On the day of the visit, the prison administration deliberately keeps them for six hours in ice cold or blazing heat; then, the administration allows them to visit me for only half an hour, in the above-mentioned manner.

The prison food consists of breakfast that is always a dish of beans, topped by a thick layer of oil, and a thick layer of cockroaches and beetles. The competent officer brings this dish without any feeling of embarrassment. For lunch, we receive cabbages whose smell makes one vomit- let alone giving it to a human being to eat.

As for the health care in a heavily guarded prison, especially in sections two and three, the above-mentioned food causes liver diseases and tuberculosis. This is in addition to cardiac diseases and chest allergies, diabetes and hypertension, stomach ulcer, slipped discs and backaches caused by the little spaces and narrow places in which we are jailed for prolonged periods, in addition to the bad ventilation. Instead of providing the required health care, the prison administration started to close the courtyards, places in which the detainees are allowed to move around and put their washed clothes to dry under the sun. The administration left only one 30m × 10m space for two hundred prisoners, which only contributes to spreading infections and diseases.

After all this suffering, we had only one last option before the call of Counselor Mahmoud Khodeiri: staging a hunger strike till we die or till the call of the Counselor bear its fruits; we still have hope in Allah an in your brave hearts.

Name / Hussein Farag
Detained since 7 / 1993
Diseases: coronary artery disease, blood circulation dysfunction and a slipped disc

The Second Message

The Second Message Says:

Apart from the fact that:
- More than forty young men were killed behind bars due to beatings by the jailers or deliberate medical neglect, after setting the scene for this in an atmosphere of lethal diseases in prisons like tuberculosis and others
-The continuous feeling of oppression every day and night, making freemen desire death.
Apart from conditions in which we wished we were dead
... We will write to you only about the recent stage, the current situation which the regime’s executioners see as a time of rest and delight for us in prisons. What we are going to write to you about now is the reality which we are still facing, and we challenge the Interior Ministry to deny any of this reality.

Statements and Lies

The Interior Minister has stated that there is no visit behind wire fences in prisons; he states this in the Egyptian newspaper "Al-Ahram". We say that we - detainees in the heavily-guarded prison of Abou Zabal- are still inhumanely treated and are allowed only one visit per month, with a permit, and from behind wire fences.

There is another statement declared by the deputy chief of the prison administration sector, Major General Mahmoud Wagdi, after the fake escape incident that did not take place in the prison of Torah. He said three months ago, in the Egyptian newspaper "Al-Ahram” that the incident will not have any effect on the treatment of other political detainees in other prisons, and that he ordered his employees to treat prisoners well. We say that this statement is false; the bitter reality which we are going to tell you proves this. Since the end of September 2006, political prisons were turned upside-down. Everything there went from bad to worse. The prison administration launched an inspection campaign against us, topped by the assistant minister for the prisons sector and his senior aides to implement the new policy. They brought their executioners and whips who dealt the detainees the most severe kinds of torture. They brought their iron fists and all their forces to apply the new instructions that violate all laws and human rights to us. They looted, stole and eliminated everything in the prison.  They reminded us of the Tatar armies that attacked Muslim countries, leaving behind them ruin and destruction. They did what the Tatars did before them. They stripped us of every thing we possess. They stripped us of our own stuff and our money under the claim that they will be kept in the prison administration for us. They told us that they will not confiscate any thing but they confiscated every thing and held an auction to sell them and take the profit for themselves. We no longer cry over such transient belongings; they stole many things from us, and they confiscated many things during the last 15 years.

Their lies are unimaginable; one of them told us “we are coming here not to annoy you but to bring rest and convenience and we will leave you only when you say that is enough!!" There was, for example, a water treatment facility because the prison water isn’t suitable for human use since it comes to prisons directly from Ismailia canal. They demolished this water treatment facility, claiming that they will bring us a water treatment filter for every section. But unfortunately they haven’t brought anything so far; the series of oppressions continued in their presence and after they left us because they left behind them a package of unfair instructions that deny us our rights and are implemented by the prison administration, led by Brigadier General Mohsen Fahmi and Lieutenant Colonel Walid Farouk the state security officer. This Brigadier General Mohsen Fahmi does not grow tired of oppressing us. He told us once:" I am here to annoy and oppress you; any one who isn’t satisfied with the situation should give me his name to deport him to Al-Wadi Al-Jadid prison.” What added to our pain as Muslims is that he called us bad names, and insulted the religion of Allah in public and in front of all prisoners, and no one held him accountable for this profanity. We would like to tell him that we do not fear Al-Wadi Al-Jadid prison because we remained there six years during which we faced the worst kinds of torture. We testify that what happened in Abu Ghraib Prison is only a drop in an ocean of what happened to us in Al-Wadi Al-Jadid prison.

Most of us have been kept in chambers with the laundry and the water vapor that worsen our diseases, especially those suffering from heart and pulmonary diseases. The other oppressions included denying the prisoners hospitalization, and denying students the right of taking their exams. This is only a small fraction of the maltreatment and abuse we are still, the detainees of the heavily guarded prison of Abou Zabal, suffering from. We know very well that all these pressures are exercised on us, including depriving us of our simplest rights like our families visiting us without a wire fence between us, and our right to be hospitalized and to take our exams... all these pressures are exercised in order for us to declare our support to the Egyptian regime, through the so-called "initiative and repentance". Because of this wire fence, some of us haven’t touched the hands of our children, mothers, fathers or loved ones for more than ten years. If such an incident accidentally happens, the prison management rushes to prevent, deprive and intervene between the father and his son or mother and her daughter by pushing them apart.

We ask Allah the Exalted the Majestic to end this distress and ordeal.

Signatories
Political Detainees in The Heavily Guarded Prison Of Abou Zabal

 

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