Swine flu on the doorstep of Egyptian prisons
What happened that we warned about in a previous statement by the Maat Foundation, where we declared our fear of the spread of swine flu inside Egyptian prisons, and we asked those concerned with the Prison Service to announce their precautionary and preventive plans regarding the spread of the disease inside Egyptian prisons, although the Major General, Director of the Prisons Service, had announced In the aftermath of that, there was an integrated and reassuring plan to a large extent in this regard, which was published by Al-Ahram newspaper at the time. However, the news published in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on Saturday, December 26, 2009 stating that 4 Islamist detainees in Abu Zaabal prison were infected with swine flu makes us fear. The extent of the effectiveness of precautionary measures in the prison sector and the adequacy of the established preventive programs.
The Maat Foundation calls on the leaders and officials of the Egyptian Prison Service to tighten control over the implementation of the preventive program announced earlier by the Head of the Authority, and to ensure the availability of adequate medical services in each prison, while ensuring easy access to these services.
On the other hand, the institution appeals to the officials of the Ministry of the Interior to release the largest possible number of political detainees, especially those who have provisions requiring their release, as well as expanding the granting of conditional and health release to prisoners sentenced to penalties of less than 5 years, in order to prevent unjustified overcrowding in prisons, which will inevitably lead to To the rapid spread of the disease when entering any prison.
Maat also demands that the precautionary and preventive measures not overwhelm the right of prisoners and their families to visit and communicate with the outside world, and that the fear of infection entering prisons not be used as a justification for narrowing the scope of these visits or placing obstacles in the way of their completion.
Finally, the institution stresses the importance of transparency in dealing with the disease and appeals to the officials of the Prison Service to immediately announce any new infections and the methods used in dealing with these injuries so as not to leave room for rumors and ambiguity on the one hand, and to reassure the prisoners' families on the other hand, and we also appeal to the authority to It gives Egyptian civil society organizations the opportunity to enter prisons to ensure the adequacy and effectiveness of measures taken regarding swine flu, provide additional guarantees for transparency and reassure Egyptian public opinion, and bring about a quantum leap in cooperation between government institutions and civil society organizations.