As many as 264 detainees in Egyptian prison facilities have died in jail since the 2013 military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi due to what is widely described as "medical negligence" on the part of prison authorities, a report said.
Seventy-two of the detainees have died this year while in government custody due to denied access to medications or treatment facilities, the UK-based Arab Organization for Human Rights said in a statement, the Middle East Monitor reported on Monday.
The development came as other human rights groups pointed to the death of jailed political activists Essam Derbala, who was the chairman of Egypt’s prominent Jamaa al-Islamiya Shura Council in Qena, as well as Mohammad Mehdi Hajjaj.
According to the Arab African Center for Freedom and Human Rights, Hajjaj died in the Raml police station in Egypt’s second largest city of Alexandria after local authorities denied the delivery of his medication and refused to transport him to a local hospital when his condition deteriorated.
The report further noted that the list of Egyptian opposition figures who died in prison due to medical negligence includes senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Farid Ismail who died in May, Sheikh Nabil Maghribi the oldest political prisoner in Egypt who died in June, and Sheikh Morgan Salem Jouhari, a former member of the Shura Council.
In August alone, the report added, four political prisoners have so far died in government custody, including Sheikh Izzat Salamoni, Ahmed Ghozlan, Sheikh Morgan Salem Jouhari, and Mahmoud Hanafi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi himself has reportedly asked to be transferred to a private medical center, claiming that an attempt has been made to poison him inside the prison.
In a brutal government crackdown on pro-Morsi protest rallies following his ouster, at least 1,400 people have been killed and thousands arrested and jailed by security forces. Many of the detainees have been sentenced to death or long prison terms in mass trials.