Cairo 26 June 2022
The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), in conjunction with the International Day Against Torture, launched the “Shebr wa Qabda” (hand’s and fist width) website. It is a site concerned with supporting the families of prisoners in Egypt by publishing information regarding possible means of transportation to reach prisons, and postal account numbers to deposit funds for their family members in detention. The site includes a map of prisons of most public prisons and penitentiaries, by monitoring decisions to establish those prisons from official sources.
The “Shebr wa Qaddah” website presents a description of the establishment and conditions of detention in a number of prisons in Lower Egypt and the Delta (Borg al-Arab Prison, Tora High Security Prison 1, Liman 440 Wadi al-Natroun, Qanater Women Prison, the two Damanhour prisons (Al Abadeyya) for men and women, and Tanta Prison). Further profiles will be prepared shortly, foremost of prisons and penitentiaries in Upper Egypt.
Within the framework of the campaign, qualitative reports will be published on the life cycle of prisoners and the violations that they may be exposed to, starting with the “reception”, conditions of the cells, exercise and visits. The project seeks to shed light on the suffering of prisoners’ families and attempts to provide them with legal and media support, in addition to a periodic bulletin on news related to prisons and the documented violations.
The suffering of prisoners’ families is a forgotten aspect that does not end with the visits at their various stages. Therefore, this ECRF campaign seeks to educate families about their rights, provide them with news about prisons and prisoners, and provide information that may benefit them during their prison visits.
The campaign comes agasint the backdrop of the Egyptian authorities’ inauguration of a new phase in the construction of Egyptian prisons, which began through the developed Wadi El-Natrun prison complex on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, to which a number of prisoners have been transferred from different prisons, in addition to a new complex in Badr City and talk about the construction of a third complex in the city of Borg El Arab in Alexandria. Construction decisions have been issued only for the Wadi El Natroun prison complex, published in December 2021 in the official gazette “building 6 reform and rehabilitation centers in Wadi El Natroun as general prisons.
The Ministry of the Interior had announced that after the actual operation of the Wadi El-Natroun complex, 12 general prisons will be closed: the Cairo appeal prison, Liman Tora prison, Cairo prison in Tora, Banha general prison, Alexandria, Tanta general prison, Mansoura, Shebin El-Kom, Zagazig, Old Damanhour prison, Beheira labor camp, Minya general prison, which represents about a quarter of the number of general prisons in Egypt. This is in addition to the previous interest in building large numbers of prisons. Since 2013, 16 central prisons have been built and 5 general prisons, including Gamasa High Security Prison, Minya High Security Prison, in addition to Minya Liman and Gamasa Liman.
The choice was made on “Shebr wa Qabda” as the name of the site and the campaign, because it is the space in which the prisoner lives in overcrowded prisons or places of detention, as their live revolve within that small space, throughout the period of his detention.