Narrated by: Amr Mohamed
I obtained an official permit from the Public Prosecution to visit Moataz Wadnan
- Sunday 29 July
At 8:00 AM, I was in front of Tora Prison’s outer gate, therein is the Istikbal Prison and the maximum-security prison sector 1 and 2.
I stood for an hour until I managed to pass through the gates, and it was 9:15 AM.
After being subjected to a body cavity search, one of the officers asked me “Whom are you visiting?” I answered “Al-Moataz Mohamed Shams Al-Din”.
- “Did you visit him before?” I said “No, this is the first time”
- “Have you ever been imprisoned before?” I said “No, I am a lawyer. I came to visit a
- “And what’s the point here, lawyers can be sent to prison as well!”
Then I went to the place where I can wait for the vehicle indented for carrying visitors (Taftaf), and when it arrived, “Hold on man, you cannot get in until we tell you so”
- Because these are the orders.
Finally I managed to get in the “Taftaf” at 10:30 AM
And when I arrived at the maximum-security prison 2 gate, I headed to the low-ranking police officer in charge of recording the names of defendants and their families. I handed him the visit permit issued from the State Security Prosecution along with my ID card, then he went through the gate.
The police officer: “Anyone has a visit here”, so I went to the gate, but he said “Hold on, your turn hasn’t come yet. You need to wait for a while”.
So I waited in front of the outer gates of the maximum-security prison.
- Give me the card (visit permit)
- Here you are
- Wait a minute, sir
- Am I going to get in or not?
- We are bringing the matter before the chief detective.
Half an hour later;
The (low-ranking) police officer: “Here are the card and your ID, wait a minute”, and I waited.
Police officer: Give me your card and ID
Me: What is going on here?!
Police officer: The chief detective needs to check them
While I was waiting for him to be back, I saw a mother of a defendant holding a permit from the State Security Prosecution, but they refused to let her in to visit her son.
The police officer: You cannot come in, madam. Please take your ID, and, if you want, you can leave anything in the safety deposit box.
I asked a non-commissioned policeman outside the gate “What time is it now”
He answered: 12:30 PM
Then, the police officer came out of the gate and said: Come in sir, you need to meet the chief detective.
After crossing the gate, I had another body cavity-search.
I met the chief detective and another officer in police uniform.
Chief detective: “You will be visiting the defendant for only 10 minutes, and you cannot speak with him unless regarding only two topics; the first one is the case, and the second one is to reassure him that his family are doing well. If you talk about any other thing, I swear to God (on your mother’s grave), you won’t be allowed to make any other visits to this prison once again. I am the prison’s head of detectives.
I had to tell him “Okay” just to be able to see Moataz.
The police officer: Wait a minute, sir
The police officer: Come in, sir
Then I met with Moataz next to the chief detective’s officer, not in the place assigned for visitations. We were also standing next to two police officers and a non-commissioned policeman.
I was standing all the time; there wasn’t any place to have a seat therein.
When I saw Moataz, I noticed at first sight that he was unable to move; he kept leaning on me for the whole duration of the visit.
On their parts, the police officers and the low-ranking policeman were kept standing by us to listen to what we were saying.
Moataz: I’m fine, sir. I am very much all right”. Don’t worry, no one here is doing me something. I am responsible for everything.
I said: Don’t worry, Moataz . Your family is doing well and they reassure you that they are fine.
And then suddenly Moataz fell to the ground and fainted away.
Police officers: That’s it. The visit is over, sir
I said: “I just want to know if he’s okay. He just passed out!”
They replied: “We are going to check his blood pressure and sugar level. Bring the doctor here”.
Moataz then regained consciousness, and managed to stand up again.
Moataz: I’m fine. Don’t worry. Please don’t tell my family in order not to get worried about me.
The doctor arrived. He tested his blood sugar lever. It was 237
Chief detective: We will check his blood pressure. You can leave now.
The low-ranking police officer: That’s it. The visit is over, sir.
The visit is over
Amr Mohamed, a lawyer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).