The Independent Ombudsman Office confirmed in its statement that it practices its legal and official duties with regard to complaints and assistant requests for assistance received regarding categories of inmates and Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock), according to a professional work based on objectivity, impartiality and commitment to the laws related under investigation, and it is also keen to inform the public of the results of its investigations, with regard to allegations that may affect their confidence, including some allegations that are sometimes raised about inmates being subjected to various types of abusive treatment or the alleged intentional deprivation of their legal and living rights in Reform and Rehabilitation Centers, and based on the foregoing and in order to fulfill the truth and clarify the facts of the matter, The Independent Ombudsman Office clarifies the following:
• The Independent Ombudsman Office follows up the allegations published on websites and social media regarding the categories of inmates and detainees, including recently allegations about a group of inmates in their buildings in the Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock), The Independent Ombudsman Office had previously visited the aforementioned center and announced about it on the first of November, 2021, and it was found during this visit that these inmates are present in the center according to judicial dictions issued before the Justice Law, and that they are able to obtain their legal rights and appropriate living and health care.
• On Sunday, November 21, 2021, The Independent Ombudsman Office received a number of mothers of inmates in Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock), they were interviewed by The Independent Ombudsman Office investigators and their testimonies were heard, moreover, they filled their requests in writing through the complaints forms prepared for this, these mothers mentioned that inmates are on hunger strike until their requests are responded to, after which more inmates’ families began to approach the headquarter of the Independent Ombudsman Office, and due to its commitment to the precautionary measures applied to combat the spread of the Corona virus, The Independent Ombudsman Office investigators asked them to use other means to submit their requests, including the WhatsApp application.
Accordingly, The Independent Ombudsman Office immediately investigated the allegations that were received, whether requests were submitted in person or via WhatsApp application.
• On the same day, The Independent Ombudsman Office team visited the Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock), to investigate the allegations, and it became clear by collecting information and through direct inspection, and by interviewing a group of these inmates, which included a number of those whose families submitted requests regarding them, and by meeting with the center’s administration, it became clear that they had several demands, that includes increasing the time allocated for them to go out of their cells together to the yards, and that keeping the cell doors open 24 hours, freedom of movement between the cells in the wards around the clock, and moving from one floor to the next inside the building without complying with the regulatory periods, changing the guard ward policemen who are in one of the buildings with other policemen, and the center’s administration indicated that all of these requests are against the law, and that such response to the requsts will lead to the spread of a form of unfair treatment to the other inmates that are obligated to the law and the regulations of the place, and they are the majority.
• The Center’s administration also stated that dealing with inmates is governed by rules and regulations determined by the legal reference represented in the Reform and Rehabilitation Institution Law No. (18) of 2014, and its executive regulations issued for Resolution No. (131) of 2015, in addition to the Law of Correctional Justice for Children and their Protection from Abuse, which is Law No. 4 of 2021, and with regard to the issue of inmates going out to the outdoor yards to play sports, it was governed by Article (43) of the Executive Regulations of the Law of the Correction and Rehabilitation Institution, which stipulated that the period of allowing inmates to practice sports activities does not exceed two hours a day, and the administration confirmed that the inmates all are allowed to leave within the period specified by the regulation and that no inmate is deprived of going out, and with regard to requests to open cell doors and freedom to roam inside the wards around the clock, it was confirmed that this violates the administrative procedures stipulated in Articles (13) and (14) of the regulation, and those who regulate the issue of criteria for separating the categories of inmates and according to their behavior, and allowing these two requests poses a danger to the inmates themselves and the staff of the place and increases the chances of occurrence acts of violation of the law, rebellion and cases of bullying among inmates, with the possibility of inmates being mixed with other groups of different age or type of crimes, which in turn may pose a physical danger to them.
• Regard to the case of a number of inmates who announced their hunger strike until these demands are met, the center's administration reported that it deals with cases of strike according to the organizational procedures approved in this regard and according to specific stages, including that providing advice to such inmates on the importance of abandoning the strike and not continuing with it and directing them to benefit from legal and administrative means and tools to submit their requests or complaints to the competent authorities, including the national remedy institutions, and confirmed that it continues to provide meals to these inmates in their regular times and not stop them, in addition to providing the medical care required in these cases, which includes following them up one day through conducting examinations, and periodic vital measurements and medical treatment of any effects of this strike, including the transfer of striking inmates to external health centers if the situation so requires.
• The Independent Ombudsman Office investigations concluded that the administrative and organizational procedures followed in Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock)and applied to all inmates, aim to ensure their safety and health and provide preventive health and security conditions through the application of safety standards and ward off risks and not allow inmates to mix with each other in large numbers, while not depriving them of their officially stipulated rights, they are also provided with living care, meals and personal hygiene supplies according to the guarantees stipulated in the law and its regulations, as well as they are allowed to shop through the store located in the place, in addition to their rights to go out to the outdoor yards and to make calls and receive visits whether in person or via video call, and other rights and guarantees as approved by the Law of The Reform and Rehabilitation Centre and its executive regulations, The Independent Ombudsman Office also concluded that the issue of the hunger strike is a voluntary option for any inmate, with the preference not to do it and to refer to the institutional means at the competent authority to consider their assistant requests as long as they do not violate the law and the organizational and administrative procedures applicable to all inmates without exception.
• The Independent Ombudsman Office has communicated with the families who submitted requests regarding their relatives of inmates in The Custody Detention Centre (Dry Dock), and informed them of the results of its investigations into those requests as mentioned in this statement.