Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian correspondent of Qatari state-funded Al-Jazeera who has been detained in Egypt since December 2016 over charges related to national security, appears in the video – Screenshot/Interior Ministry
CAIRO – 12 February 2020: Correspondents from foreign media platforms visited the Tora prison complex south of Cairo, known for housing many inmates over terrorism-related charges, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior published on Wednesday.
Correspondents from the Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya, the British Sky News, French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) visited the prisons of Liman Tora and Anbar Al-Zera’ah inside the well-known complex.
The visit aimed at checking human rights situation inside the two prisons. A video published by the Interior Ministry showed Al-Arabiya and Russia Today correspondents talking to the inmates around their life conditions inside prison, including health and education services.
Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian correspondent of Qatari state-funded Al-Jazeera who has been detained in Egypt since December 2016 over charges related to national security, appeared in the video.
Hussein said he meets monthly with his lawyers and receives all his rights, including medical examinations. He also said he meets his family weekly and that his family members are treated properly. Hussein added that the prison administration allows him to receive books, newspapers, food and clothes.
He also praised the security authorities’ decision last November, granting him a temporary release to attend his father’s funeral.
Other inmates appeared in the video, including one who is charged with joining the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, have praised the way they are treated inside prison. An inmate said he could learn to read and write inside the prison, while another one said he obtained his High School and licentiate of law while serving his prison sentence.
In October last year, a delegation from the Parliament's human rights committee, including Alaa Abed, the head of the committee, visited prisons of Upper Egypt's Minya governorate, as well as the headquarters of the Alexandria Security Directorate to check the human rights situation.
Egypt's State Information Service, a government agency that is directly subordinate to the Egyptian Presidency, has frequently denied reports concerning human rights violations in Egypt, especially those issued by human rights organizations believed to be politicized.
Concerning ex-prisoners, the Egyptian Parliament Human Rights Committee last June announced holding a set of meetings during the coming period to discuss social hardships and stigma of these persons.
The political leadership has also affirmed keenness to respect human rights in Egypt, saying, in a meeting with the African Commission on Human and peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) delegation in Cairo in April, that promoting human rights is one of Egypt’s priorities in its 2030 Vision.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also emphasized the state’s role in promoting religious tolerance, acceptance and coexistence, as well as entrenching the concept of citizenship.
As Egypt hosts millions of expats and refugees, Sisi said they practice all their rights and activities freely according to UN conventions.