Coronavirus: Egypt’s Prisons Could Spare Disaster with Conditional Releases

Originally published by Human Rights Watch on 15 March 2020

Summary

Egypt’s prisons are known to be overcrowded, dirty and unhygienic putting the health and lives of prisoners at risk. There is little to no information released by the government as to the demographics of prison populations. The severe overcrowding and unhealthy conditions mean that the system is unprepared for a pandemic such as COVID-19. Releasing prisoners detained for non-violent protest, ending excessive pre-trial detention and releasing prisoners near the end of their sentences or with severe and terminal illnesses could alleviate health problems and prevent further deterioration of the situation.