Rights organizations blame Interior Ministry for prisoner’s death

Three rights organizations on Monday held the Interior Ministry responsible for the death of a man in Tora prison in southern Cairo.

Officials claim the man died after swallowing poisonous materials.

Essam Ali Atta, 23, died in Tora prison in southern Cairo on Thursday. Atta was serving a two-year prison sentence passed by a military tribunal in February over charges that included thuggery.

Rights organizations and Atta's family accuse security authorities of torturing him to death. Meanwhile, the medical examiner who examined his body told Al-Shorouk newspaper on Sunday that she did not find any marks on the corpse.

She also said she found in his stomach what appeared to be narcotic tablets.

In a statement on Monday, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Tahrir Doctors Society said Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy, Assistant Interior Minister for Prisons Mohamed Naguib and the prison warden bear the criminal responsibility for Atta's death.   

The organizations called on the relevant authorities to provide correct information about what happened, and urged transparent investigations of the incident to determine who was responsible for Atta's death and send them to immediate criminal trials.

The statement claimed Atta was tortured and beaten on Tuesday and Wednesday and died on Thursday. His family said Atta spoke to them on a mobile phone while in prison and told them that an officer named Nour inserted a hose into his mouth and anus and and forced him to drink detergent after he suspected Atta took some narcotics.

International organizations, meanwhile, called for the formation of an authority of independent experts to be tasked with receiving complaints about police violations. The same authority would be responsible for probing deaths at prisons.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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