31 January 2011
PRESS RELEASE: Prisoners in Egypt’s Tora Istiqbaal prison under attack by security agencies
Cageprisoners has received news from the Tora Istiqbaal prison complex just outside Cairo, Egypt that hundreds of prisoners are being attacked by the security forces in a pre-emptive action taken against political inmates.
In a phone call to Cageprisoners Director, Moazzam Begg, from inside the prison wing - which houses over a hundred men - sounds of screaming, shouting and banging could be heard as one man, a close relative of a former Guantanamo detainee, described the scene:
“They have entered the prison complex armed and are trying to provoke us into confrontation. I think they want to hurt us badly – or even kill us. They want to exact revenge from us because of what is happening outside, the tyrants we struggled against are about to fall. We have bared our chests and are prepared for the worst they can throw at us, but we want the world to know what is happening here so they are under no illusions about what is happening in our country. We will not allow them to enter. We have risen. Allah is with us.”
Several prisoners have already been reported killed by security services during clashes yesterday at Abu Zaabal prison and it is feared that a similar fate awaits the inmates of Tora Istiqbaal.
The Egyptian Government has a notorious record of torture and carrying out summary trials against opposition organisations – particularly in relation to Islamic groups.
This week both US and UK foreign ministers expressed displeasure at the prospect of Islamist opposition taking power in Egypt. Whilst accepting that the west had no business in trying to appoint the leadership of the country William Hague added: “We would not want to see a government based on the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The situation at the Tora Istiqbaal prison is at critical level and many more lives could be lost unless a firm message is sent to the Egyptian leadership.
Cageprisoners calls on the Governments of the US and UK to stop using language that endangers the lives of the oppositions groups in Egypt and on what’s left of the Egyptian regime to abstain from further harming its own citizens.
Cageprisoners spokesmen will be available for comment on the report and cases.