Prisoner of Opinion Hisham Jafar and his Colleagues Start Hunger Strike in Protest over Denial of Medical Treatment and the Threat to Return to Prison Before Recovering

Cairo: 22 August, 2016

Today, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) asserted that journalist and prisoner of opinion Hisham Jafar, who was moved to Qasr al-Ainy Hospital to receive medicine among a number of physically ill inmates- including the imprisoned judge “Mahmoud al-Khodairy” and others- announced a hunger strike three days ago in protest against their deprivation of medical treatment, as they weren’t allowed to receive medicines and threatened to be returned to Al-Aqrab Prison before recovering or having the surgery Jafar is in need of.

The family of prisoner of opinion Hisham Jafar has informed his lawyers at ANHRI that the surgery, he was supposed to undergo since last March, has not been performed yet. The arbitrary proceedings have further escalated when he and his colleagues were not allowed to receive medicines they bring from abroad at their own expense, and when the officer in charge of prisoners at the hospital threatened them to transfer them back to the notorious Al-Aqrab Prison before having their full medical treatment or carrying out the surgery necessary for Jafar. As a consequence, Jafar and the 77- year-old judge al-Khodairy commenced a hunger strike together with other inmates in protest over “the slow death” they were facing, as they described.

According to Dr. Manar al-Tantawi, Jafar’s wife, “the Ministry of Interior refused three times previously to transfer Jafar from Qasr al-Ainy Hospital to Manial Hospital to have his necessary surgery under the pretext that there aren’t any vehicles too carry them. And now we can see fake medical reports issued by doctors who didn’t conduct any physical examinations to Jaffar, which are being used by one of the officers to threaten the aforementioned ill inmates to return them back to prison in case they are complaining mistreatment”, Tantawi said in a meeting with ANHRI.

ANHRI said, “Hisham Jafar is a prisoner of conscience who has been held on remand for ten months. Being deprived from medicine or having the surgery he needs constitutes a violation of the Prisons Regulation Law 396/1956, which requires the intervention of the Public Prosecution to hold those responsible for such abuses accountable”.

It’s worth mentioning that Hisham Jafar is a member of the Journalists Syndicate and the director of Mada Foundation for Media Development. He was arrested in October 2015, and since then the Public Prosecution refuses to release him or bring him to trial, which indicates once again that pre-trial detention is being used as a punitive measure not as a precautionary one.

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After 200 Days Languishing in Al-Aqrab Prison: Hisham Jafar Fell Victim to Conflict Between State Bodies.. ANHRI Publishes the Democratic Dialogue Document that Led to his Detention