Amnesty says 130 on hunger strike in Egypt’s high-security prison

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Around 130 detainees have been on a mass hunger strike for more than six weeks in a high-security prison in Egypt, rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

The detainees began the strike on June 17, in al-Aqrab (Scorpion) prison near Cairo in protest against being denied family visits and dire conditions, according to the London-based watchdog.

“The Egyptian authorities have pushed scores of detainees at al-Aqrab to breaking point, said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.

“The combination of squalid and inhumane detention conditions and the denial of family visits and access to their lawyers, in some cases for over two years, has created an unbearable situation for detainees,’’ she said in a statement.

The watchdog, however, called on Egyptian authorities to investigate alleged abuses against the detainees on hunger strike.

“The authorities must also allow independent observers to visit Al-Aqrab prison to ensure that the conditions of detention are up to international standards, Amnesty said.

“There has been no official comment in Egypt on the group’s report.

“Rights groups have repeatedly accused the government of President Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi of massive abuses, including a draconian crackdown on Islamic groups and secular dissidents, a charge that Egyptian authorities deny. (dpa/NAN)

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