July 26, 2016
Prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Malek Adly, head of the legal unit for the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, has been held by Egyptian authorities in solitary confinement for 80 days. He is detained in a two by three square-meter cell and is not allowed recreation or exercise time. He is denied proper blood pressure medication, is not allowed to visit the prison mosque, and does not have access to a radio, newspaper, and books. His visits with family and counsel are monitored. But Adly’s case is not an aberration, but rather, the rule.
In the wake of an escalating crackdown on independent voices, Egypt has witnessed an upsurge in detentions, bringing the country’s prisons to 160 percent of capacity and lockups in police stations to 300 percent of capacity. Egyptian authorities have also been increasingly using pretrial detention as a punitive measure to silence activists, journalists, and peaceful political dissidents. The number of pretrial detainees in Egypt has exponentially increased under Al Sisi regime and the periods of pretrial detention have exceeded international legal standards and even domestic maximums.
These unprecedented numbers have created unsafe, overcrowded prison conditions.