Martyrs behind bars

EIPR releases a report on prison abuse in Egypt during the revolution, ‘Martyrs behind bars’:

You can read the report here. An English translation should be up soon. And here is an ONTV programme based on the report:

It features an interview with the sister of General Mohamed al-Batran, Chief of the Prison Authority’s Intelligence Unit, who was killed by prison guards inside al-Qatta prison on the 29th January.

There used to be a huge picture of al-Batran hanging up in the Tahrir Square sit-in. I first heard about the al-Batran story from a friend of mine, MS, who lives in Fayoum. We were walking past the poster one day and he told me that it was a general from his town and that he was a decent man who had been killed for trying to treat prisoners like human beings. I asked what happened and he told me the story of how al-Batran went to al-Qatta to talk to the prisoners and to try to calm unrest and that he was shot by other prison guards.

There is a large prison in Fayoum, innovatively named al-Fayoum prison, and MS also told me that during the revolution he used to see prisoners occasionally walking through the streets of the town, wrapped in blankets, lost and disoriented. Once, he said, he went up and talked to one of them. The prisoner told him that there was no security and he had escaped. He said he was from Fayoum but he had been in prison so long that he didn’t recognise the streets any more. He asked MS to tell him the way to the main street. Then he walked away, his blanket trailing along the floor behind him.

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