Detention conditions Mahienour el-Massry deteriorate
4 November 2015

Detention conditions Mahienour el-Massry deteriorate


Lawyers for Lawyers expresses its concern over the reported deterioration of the detention conditions of human rights lawyer Mahienour el-Massry in the Damanhour prison in Egypt. On 31 May 2015, El-Massry was convicted by the Court of Appeal in Raml for, among other things, “assaulting security forces”, and sentenced to one year and three months imprisonment. This was after she and other lawyers went to Raml police station in March 2013 to provide legal assistance to three activists, upon which the human rights defenders were verbally and physically assaulted by the police.

Last Saturday the sister of El-Massry posted a message on the Free Mahienour facebook page, reporting that the family has not been able to get food and basic hygiene supplies to her during the last few weeks, forcing El-Massry and other detainees to rely on the prison canteen, which many prisoners cannot afford. Furthermore, cells are overcrowded as more prisoners were recently brought in from another prison. El-Massry is thus detained in a five by six meter prison cell together with twenty-seven other women, which “literally means women sleep on top of each other”, the statement by her sister notes. Water shortage is another problem, as prisoners only have access to clean water for four hours a day, and sanitary facilities are inadequate. El-Massry is said to have complained with the prison administration about these conditions.

In June 2014, El-Massry was awarded the Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights Prize, which is given annually to a lawyer who works in defence of human rights.

Lawyers for Lawyers called upon the Egyptian authorities to improve prison conditions and facilities to ensure these meet the basic human requirements and human rights standards. Furthermore, L4L urgently requests the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Mahienour el-Massry and drop all charges against her as these seem to be aimed at hindering her peaceful human rights activities.

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