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Son claims prison administration refuses to treat Abouel Fotouh’s deteriorating health

The health of Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, the head of the Strong Egypt Party and 2012 presidential candidate who has been held in pretrial detention at Tora Prison since February, has deteriorated in past months as the prison administration continues to deny him treatment, his son told Mada Masr.

Hozaifa Abouel Fotouh and another of the politician’s sons were able to visit him on Saturday for the first time since his February 14 arrest, with the permission of the State Security Prosecution.

During their visit, Abouel Fotouh’s family was prevented from giving him food, clothes or medicine, despite his deteriorating condition. Hozaifa Abouel Fotouh told Mada Masr that his father “suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, prostatitis and heart rate variability, which caused two bouts of angina [chest pains] in the past few days.” He said that the prison administration has not responded to his health problems and prison doctors have refused to accurately record information on his medical report.

Tora Prison administration also refused to allow Abouel Fotouh to receive physical therapy for the slipped disk he developed while in detention, and denied him him access to a comfortable bed or a plastic chair in his solitary confinement cell, Hozaifa added.

On April 15, while being interrogated by the State Security Prosecution, Abouel Fotouh submitted an official complaint against Tora Prison. The politician accused the administration of psychological and physical abuse by keeping him in solitary confinement for more than two months, although he is over the age of 60 and has not committed a crime while in detention, according to lawyer Abdel Rahman Hareedy. This is in violation of the prison’s bylaws. The lawyer added that the complaint has not been referred for investigations.

According to Hareedy, this is the third such complaint submitted by Abouel Fotouh since his arrest. All three objected to the ban on his regular visits, his placement in an “inhuman” solitary confinement cell from which he has not been allowed to leave and the continued refusal to allow him access to medical treatment.

Requests for Abouel Fotouh to be transferred to a hospital or examined by a medical committee have been submitted by his family on several occasions, the lawyer told Mada Masr. The family, however, has received no response.

Security forces arrested Abouel Fotouh from his home in New Cairo on February 14, along with members of the Strong Egypt Party’s political bureau, who were released later that evening. The Strong Egypt Party announced the temporary suspension of its activities the following day.

The former Islamist politician has been held in pretrial detention since his arrest while the State Security Prosecution investigates charges of leading a terrorist group and disseminating false news, both inside the country and abroad, with the purpose of damaging the country’s interests. His detention has been renewed a number of times, most recently on April 17.

Prior to his arrest, Abouel Fotouh had conducted several interviews in London, including one with Al Jazeera, in which he criticized President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government and the 2018 presidential election process, in particular the arrest of presidential contender and former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan and the attack on former head of the Central Auditing Authority Hesham Geneina, who was set to be part of Anan’s campaign.

Abouel Fotouh was also among a group of political figures who signed a statement issued on January 28, calling on Egyptians to boycott the 2018 presidential election and reject its results.

On February 21, one week after he was arrested, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of six member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group who had been allegedly hiding out at a farm they said was owned by Abouel Fotouh. However, his family denied these claims.

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