Rights organization voices concern over Mubarak prison transfer


An Egyptian human rights organization on Monday voiced concerns of a possible threat to former President Hosni Mubarak’s life if he is moved to Tora prison as recommended by a parliamentary panel report.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in a statement voiced fears for Mubarak’s health given the absence of healthcare requirements at the prison.

Mubarak faces charges of ordering the murder of pro-democracy protesters during the 18-day uprising that ended his rule in February last year. He has been spending his custody detention at the military-run International Medical Center because doctors say his health is poor.

But demands have been increasing lately to transfer the toppled 84-year-old president from his luxurious detention site to Tora prison, south of Cairo, where other former regime officials are detained on corruption charges.

The public pressure prompted Egypt’s lower house of Parliament, the People’s Assembly, to form a panel to verify whether the prison’s hospital is suitable for Mubarak.

The panel said in a report Sunday that the prison’s hospital can be ready within a week and that slowness to prepare the hospital is unjustified.  The report said the prison has all the medical equipment required for Mubarak, and the panel suspected financial corruption was involved in the work to renovate the hospital.

But the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights pleaded to the ruling military council, the Interior Ministry and the attorney general to guarantee minimum human rights standards for detainees, which include healthcare.

Its chairman, Hafez Abu Saeda, said although debates on Mubarak’s transfer to Tora are justifiable, international human rights agreements should be considered when handling detainees.

In a phone call with Egypt Independent, Gamal Eid, director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, declined to comment on Abu Saeda’s remarks. But he stressed that Mubarak and other detainees should be treated equally and added that the former president has been pretending to be ill to escape jail time. 

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