Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Egypt: Magdi Hamdi Saqr, denied medical care in prison, life in danger

The State of Emergency law is often used by the Egyptian security services as a pretext for arbitrary arrests of dissident groups or those believed to be members of such groups. In such cases, the victims are detained without legal justification and held for long periods of time without trials based on the assumption that they are a threat to national security. Within the prison themselves, many of these political prisoners are exposed to ill-treatment, humiliation and torture, especially those who require medical care are often denied this basic privilege and in some cases die. On 17 October 2009, the Egyptian authorities arrested Magdi Hamdi Saqr, who suffers from serious health difficulties, and is now detained in Damanhour prison, northern Egypt.
Mr Saqr suffers from several medical conditions, including the hardening of the arteries, failure to the coronary artery and frequent chest pains. Before his arrest, doctors advised him to avoid strenuous activity and to take rest as much as possible. His current state of health is dire, and the living conditions at Damanhour prison have only worsened his condition. Doctors, who are also his inmates, have tried to help; however, they have been unable to do so due to a lack of medical resources. Current fears are that could die if he does not urgently receive medical attention.
A request for his release was last submitted on 5 November 2009, however, the authorities unequivocally refused. Alkarama submitted his case as an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions (SUMX) today, 8 December 2009.
Alkarama calls upon the Egyptian authorities to release Magdi Hamdi Saqr and therefore reminds the authorities that Mr Saqr may die inside Damahour prison due to lack of proper medical care.

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