After Gehad’s arrest, he was transferred to Tora Liman prison (a maximum security ward) and was locked inside his solitary cell for 24 hours a day.
In Liman Tora prison, Gehad’s solitary cell was 180cmx200cm wide with no ventilation. The unfinished interior of the cell created a very humid environment with no air circulation and with lots of insects. He had a hole in the ground of his cell as his toilet. For the first 15 days he was denied his right to get outside his cell to the prison yard or even see the light.
During these days, he was only given two cucumbers and two tomatoes as his food for the whole day. His family was not able to see him or deliver him any clothes, food or medications for 11 days. In the first five days he was also denied books, paper and pen, even the Quran. He was also investigated at his place of imprisonment not at the prosecution in violation to the Egyptian law.
Transfer to Al-Aqrab
Eventually, prison authorities allowed him an hour of daily exercise outside the cell before moving him to indefinite solitary confinement in Al-Aqrab prison in January 2014. Gehad was denied family visits for almost a year from September 2016 to August 2017. Family visits then resumed but were restricted to just 10 minutes per visit. Prison authorities have not allowed his family to see him since March 2018.
Deterioration of Health and Abuse
Said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International stated that “Amnesty International is deeply concerned about Gehad al-Haddad’s deteriorating health and the abusive conditions in which he is being held. The inhumane conditions Gehad has been subjected to since his detention in 2013, including prolonged solitary confinement, have resulted in much of his ongoing suffering, pain and the need for a wheelchair. When he arrived in prison he was a healthy man in his early 30’s. Now, he can’t move to perform ablutions or use the bathroom without help.”
Gehad has lost 35 kilograms (77 pounds). On April 8, 2018, prison authorities moved Gehad to Liman Tora prison because he was unable to move without assistance. On May 10, 2018, prison authorities confiscated Gehad’s wheelchair and other personal items when he was in a court session, and returned him to solitary confinement in Al Aqrab Prison.
In May 2018, Amnesty International concluded that Gehad’s prison treatment amounts to torture, given the time he has spent in solitary confinement and other abuses he has been subjected to. Amnesty International further stated that the continued treatment of Gehad in Al-Aqrab prison is inhuman and unacceptable. This statement was issued in May 2018, in response to the fact that prison authorities confiscated his wheelchair and other belongings, and moved him back to solitary confinement after spending a month in Liman Tora prison awaiting medical treatment which he did not receive. Gehad’s extended stays in solitary confinement, and his lack of medical attention despite pressing need, have sparked international outrage. Gehad’s case was featured in an Amnesty International Report published in May 2017, titled: “Crushing Humanity: The Abuse of Solitary Confinement in Egypt’s Prisons,” which referred to Gehad’s treatment in prison as torturous. Gehad was also Gehad wrote in 2017 that what is happening to him and his father is not an anomaly. He says that “state authorities are responsible for extrajudicial killings, disappearances of hundreds of civilians, and the detention of tens of thousands of political prisoners. This continued escalation in repressive measures has been described by independent human rights organisations as constituting crimes against humanity.”