Monday, May 08, 2006

Detainees start hunger strike

Forty of the people arrested by the government in the wake of anti-government protests have started a hunger strike and are asking for our support. Here is a public statement of theirs and a list of their requests:

"We, the activists who were kidnapped from in front of the judges’ club and the Cairo court house, at present held in the high security Tora prison:


"Express our complete solidarity with the Egyptian judges, conscience of the nation, in all their demands and condemn the persistent violation of their independence by the Mubarak regime, its repeated extension of the emergency state and escalation of its oppressive policies against reform movements.


"While we willingly pay a small share of the price of freedom for our country, we insist at the same time on our basic human rights, granted to prisoners of war, and announce the beginning of a hunger strike until our following demands are met:

"1- An impartial investigation with state security officers and thugs who brutally broke into our protest and insulted the Egyptian flag by stamping on it upon direct orders of state security officer Walid El Dessouki

"2- An impartial investigation with state security officers who tried to kill 16 of us, by crowding them, while handcuffed to each other, in a closed truck and closing all sources of ventilation after the interrogation at state security prosecution in Heliopolis. This situation lasted for 6 full hours, from 9 pm on Thursday the 27th of April 2006 until 3 am on Friday the 28th of April 2006. We were kept in the police truck throughout parked on the highway in Tora, with all the dangers that this would entail to our safety and life.

"3- An end to the dangers facing 23 of us who are kept among criminal prisoners and an impartial investigation with the prison administration, which ignored our official complaint, dated 4 May 2006, regarding the widespread use of drugs and white weapons in those cells.

"4- An impartial investigation with state security officers who kidnapped us from the streets of Cairo, mostly with Walid El Dessouki, regarding the theft of our personal belongings such as cameras, mobile phones and cash. We also demand an impartial investigation with the prison administration which has neglected the complaint we submitted in that regard, indicating its total submission to the instructions of state security intelligence in violation of the emergency law itself and the bylaws of prison administration.

"5- An impartial investigation in the threats of brutal torture, which we receive from state security officers in prison “as they do with the Islamic groups” they say.

"6- Permission to use the mosque for prayer and access to newspapers and magazines as mentioned in the prison bylaws.

"7- Impartial investigation with prison administration for its discrimination between rich, “connected” prisoners whose cells remain open throughout the day and most of the night without supervision, while poor prisoners are subject to continuous humiliation."

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