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Former Egyptian presidential candidate suffers heart attacks in prison amid medical neglect

Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh’s life is in danger following medical neglect in prison [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 July, 2019

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Jailed former Egyptian presidential candidate Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh has suffered two heart attacks on consecutive days, weeks after former president Morsi died in court after medical neglect.
A former Egyptian presidential candidate has suffered two heart attacks while being held in prison, his son said on social media on Sunday.

Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh, a 68 year old former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who stood in the 2012 democratic presidential elections, has been in prison since 2018.

His son Ahmed said on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, "my father is in danger of losing his life at any moment", adding that his father suffered heart attacks on Saturday and Sunday.

Aboul Fotouh had been a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood until 2011, when he quit the group to run as an independent in the Egyptian presidential elections, coming in fourth place with 17 percent of the vote in the first round.

He was seen as more liberal than the Muslim Brotherhood's official candidate, Mohamed Morsi, who later went on to win the presidential elections.

Following his election defeat Aboul Fotouh founded the Strong Egypt party. He was arrested in February 2018 after giving an interview to the Al-Jazeera Television Network, on charges of "spreading false news" and being part of an unspecified "banned organization".

He has now been held in pre-trial detention in the maximum-security "Scorpion" wing of the notorious Tora prison for more than 16 months.

Aboul Fotouh now suffers from many health problems. In addition to his heart problems, Aboul Fotouh has diabetes, hypertension, and respiratory ailments, and has to sleep with an oxygen machine which does not work in the high temperatures of his prison cell, the Reuters news agency reported.

He also requires a prostate operation which Egyptian prison authorities are refusing to allow, Ahmed Aboul Fotouh told Reuters.

"They are deliberately not protecting his health... If they continue treating him like this, it will lead to the same result as Morsi", Ahmed added.

Morsi, who was 67, died on June 17 in an Egyptian courtroom after suffering years of medical neglect in prison. His health problems were similar to Aboul Fotouh's, including diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease.

Reuters reported on June 27 that three other former Brotherhood leaders jailed in Tora were suffering from dangerous health problems due to ill-treatment and medical neglect. They include Esam al-Haddad, an advisor to Morsi, and his son Gehad Al-Haddad, a former Brotherhood spokesman.

Esam has been held in solitary confinement in Tora and has suffered several heart attacks. Gehad was beaten and tortured in prison after writing an article for the New York Times in 2017 defending the Muslim Brotherhood and is now in danger of losing his injured leg, which is not being treated for numbness, according to his brother Abdullah.

Both Esam and Gehad were acquitted of charges of spying in 2016 but are now being retried.

The health of Mohamed El-Beltagy, the 56-year old secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party who has been sentenced to death, has also been deteriorating according to his family. He suffered from kidney, immune system and thyroid problems before his detention in 2013, but was receiving treatment for these, his son Ammar told Reuters.

The Egyptian government is now refusing to allow him to take new medical tests.

At least 60,000 people have been arrested on political grounds in Egypt since 2013, according to Human Rights Watch. They include liberal and secular opponents of the Sisi regime as well as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, many of whom are also held in Tora.

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