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Anxiety grows for Egypt jail inmates at time of virus shutdowns

Published : Saturday, 21 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 281

Cairo, Mar 20: In Egypt's overcrowded and putrid jails, families of prisoners fear a potentially catastrophic coronavirus outbreak and are calling for their imminent release as the rest of the country hunkers down.
Egypt has halted family visits to inmates at least until the end of this month citing the "public health and safety of inmates".
This has meant relatives cannot bring medicine, clean clothes and fresh food directly to those incarcerated.
For Ekram Yousef, a well-known writer and mother of lawyer and former lawmaker Zyad al-Elaimy whose health is slowly failing, the anguish is palpable.
"My son has diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers and most of all a niggling respiratory disease," she told AFP, anxious that he is at a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.
"There are no phone calls so I have to guess which medicines he is running out of."
The 40-year-old, a key figure in the 2011 revolution, was jailed in June last year and is awaiting trial for promoting "unrest against the state".
He was also sentenced last week to one year in prison in another case for "broadcasting false news" for comments he made in a BBC interview.    -AFP

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