Dr. Essam El-Haddad, 64 years old, has started a full hunger strike at Scorpion prison since Monday, 13th November 2017. EL-Haddad has been held in a 4 square meter airtight underground solitary confinement cell, with no windows and only a slit in the door, for more than 4 years. He is allowed to walk out of his cell only one hour every day but just in an inner corridor. He was deprived, as well as his colleagues, from going out in the sun since last February (10 months). He does not have any bed or mattresses and has to sleep on the floor since last February as well.
EL-Haddad suffered from a chest pain on 15th October 2016 and was only allowed after 11 months, on 25th September 2017, to do medical perfusion imaging for diagnosis. His medical report states that he suffers from moderate ischemia of the left side of the heart and ventricular hypertrophy and coronary artery deficiency nourishing the left side of his heart. EL-Haddad asked to be examined by a cardiologist but his request was refused.
EL-Haddad’s family consulted a cardiologist from Al Kasr Al Ainy, where EL-Haddad had his myocardial perfusion imaging on 25th September 2017, for diagnosis according to his medical report and were told that he urgently needs a cardiac catheterization operation and an installation of a stent in his affected coronary artery. His family tried few days ago to send some drugs suitable for his case but the prison authorities refused. EL-Haddad needs urgently to change the drugs he is taking because some of his previous drugs are dangerous for his case.
Despite recognising his critical case, prison authorities had left him more than 11 months since his heart attack without giving him any medical assistance, referring him to a cardiologist or allowing him to receive medications from his family.
The conditions in EL-Haddad’s cell are extremely dangerous for his case. It is well known that angina can be easily precipitated by cold and stress conditions which he suffers most in his solitary cell. He is forced to eat prison food which is considered too poor to eat. No fresh food, fruit, vegetables, milk and honey are allowed. As a result of this very unhealthy diet along with forbidding him from buying any food from the prison’s cafeteria, EL-Haddad lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of his weight.
EL-Haddad already has a strong family history of heart diseases and cerebral haemorrhagic stroke that previously caused the death of his father and affected his elder brother. Moreover, inside scorpion prison, there are no facilities for the diagnosis and treatment for such medical heart conditions.
EL-Haddad has long exceeded the provisional detention period and was never interrogated or even questioned by the prosecutor. During his 4 years of detention, he met with his lawyer for only 10 minutes in 2014.
The family of Essam EL-Haddad calls for an urgent action to save him.