Egypt’s former presidential candidate and opponent to Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, has suffered a double heart attack due to the inhumane conditions he has been held under in Cairo’s Torah prison, according to his son.
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"My father may succumb at any time to the deliberate abuse in Cairo’s Torah prison," Fotouh's son said in a Facebook post on Saturday, retelling that"while we were waiting to visit him, he had a heart attack."
According to the statement, Aboul Fotouh's condition improved after receiving treatment but then his family learned he had a heart attack yesterday night, as well.
"Two heart attacks within less than 24 hours! And the reason is the inhumane prison conditions and deliberate abuse," his son added, emphasizing he was seriously concerned about his father’s life.
Aboul Fotouh, who is a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, ran as an independent for the presidential elections of 2012 when he gained nearly a fifth of the vote in the first round.
Known for his firm opposition to Anwar el-Sadat (1970-1981) and Hosni Mubarak's (1981-2011) regimes, he is currently the leader of the Strong Egypt Party, a centrist political party founded by him in 2012. In February 2018, he was arrested on charges of spreading false news and being a member of a banned organization that has not been specified by Egyptian prosecutors.
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The news of the double heart attack comes two weeks after former President Morsi’s death increased international concerns on detention conditions within Egypt prisons. Morsi had collapsed while he was attending his trial in Cairo and state television later announced he had died to a heart attack.
Aboul Fotouh’s family members have been denouncing his detention conditions and especially the solitary confinement that “serves nothing other but the purpose to torture him physically and mentally”, as well as warning his condition is getting worse because of medical negligence.
On Thursday, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms submitted a petition to the public prosecutor's office concerning the "deteriorating health situation of Aboul Fotouh", demanding urgent intervention to "save him from the deliberate medical negligence."
Morsi’s death and Aboul Fotouh’s health conditions bring up new concerns on the detention conditions in Egypt.
In 2018, Amnesty International released a report denouncing the use of indefinite solitary confinement against political prisoners, referring to it as "nothing else but torture."
"Prisoners detained on politically motivated charges are being held in prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement in Egypt (at times for several years) which in and of itself amounts to torture. They are locked in their cells for 24 hours for weeks at end, denied any human contact and kept in horrific cell conditions," warned the report.