Turkey, World, Middle East

Istanbul hosts torchlight march for Egyptian prisoners

Demonstrators draw attention to unlawful detentions, human rights violations in Egypt

Ali Ebubekir Tokcan   | 11.12.2019
Istanbul hosts torchlight march for Egyptian prisoners FILE PHOTO

ISTANBUL

Hundreds of people in Istanbul held a torchlight march on Tuesday evening to draw attention to unlawful detentions by the Egyptian regime.

The march, organized by the Solidarity Group for Egyptian Prisoners on the occasion of Human Rights Day, started from the landmark Fatih Mosque in the city’s Fatih district.

Chanting slogans -- Egyptians are not alone and Murderer [President Abdel-Fattah] Sisi -- the demonstrators urged people to voice concern over the human rights violations in Egypt.

The demonstrators also carried banners reading Stop Execution, Muslims do not bow to persecution, and Speak Out for Egypt, Stop Prosecution during the march ended near Sarachane Park.

According to the Solidarity Group for Egyptian Prisoners, thousands of innocent people were killed by the Egyptian regime, which overthrew the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi -- who was ousted in a 2013 military coup and died this June in the middle of a trial.

The number of people, detained in Egypt's prisons, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other political opponents, was estimated to be over 65,000, a written statement of the group said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency during the march, Sena al-Beltagy, wife of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagy -- who was jailed after the 2013 military coup in Egypt -- complained of the human rights violations in her country.

She recalled that her daughter was shot dead during anti-coup protests at Rabaa Square in Cairo and her son and husband were jailed. Al-Beltagy also said that her husband was not even allowed to take his medicine in the prison.

Egyptian prisons currently have had at least 60,000 detainees -- the majority of them are young people -- for six years and humanitarian conditions are very bad, she added.

Al-Beltagy went on to say: “They are leaving them dead in order to prevent people from telling ‘You killed them.’ I thank very much all of you who take part in this event.

“Don’t forget the smallest call that you make here or a demonstration [that you hold] will be a hope for those, who are losing hope in Egypt.”

Conditions in Egypt beyond words

Noha Qasim, another Egyptian whose husband was sentenced to 23 years in prison -- said that what's happening in Egypt are “beyond words.”

On the deteriorated conditions in prisons, Qasim, who also claimed to be tortured in an Egyptian prison, said that prisoners were staying in cells without toilet and bath and their need for food and medical care were not met.

She voiced hope that they would return to a free Egypt one day after getting rid of al-Sisi rule.

Speaking at the march, Omar al-Suveykh also claimed that he was tortured in Egyptian prisons.

Urging people not to believe the reports of Egyptian media, he said that the wounds in his body prove the cruelty in Egypt.

Morsi, a leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012.

After only a year in office, he was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup led by then-Defense Minister and current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

At the time of his death in June, Morsi faced a host of legal charges, which he, along with numerous human rights groups and independent observers, said were politically motivated.

*Writing by Nilay Kar

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