How much care is due for a patient with liver cancer? Or cancer of bile ducts? Or lung cancer?! How much care does a patient with a pelvic fracture need? Or a patient with a fractured hip joint?
What if all these cancers and fractures were in one patient?
What if this patient’s age is almost 90 years?
Just days ago, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, former Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, fell and broke his left thigh and pelvis, and found no-one to help him up at the time because he was being held in Qasr El-Eini Hospital under strict security guard, so even nursing staff were only allowed to enter with special permission from the State Security apparatus.
Akef was diagnosed with cancer of the bile ducts, which quickly spread to the liver and lungs causing a complete failure in one of his lungs. After appeals to all relevant authorities and the intervention of the National Council for Human Rights, only weeks ago, the prison authority allowed Akef’s transfer to Qasr El-Eini Hospital for treatment at the expense of his family.
Then, all the above health problems were complicated further with fractures resulting from his fall, making his movement impossible without assistance.
Qasr El-Eini Hospital doctors need to operate, something which necessitates anesthesia. The family is now waiting for an expert opinion of an anesthesiologist to determine whether Akef’s heart will endure the process or not.
Akef has the right to be released for medical reasons (medical parole) under the law. Why is the law not applied here?
The text of the law
Article 36 of the Prisons Regulation Law No. 396 of 1956.
“Every convicted person who is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or incapacitated by a total disability shall be brought before the director of the prison medical department for examination in conjunction with the forensic doctor to consider his release. The decision shall be executed after approval by the Director General of Prisons and the approval of the Attorney General who will notify the competent department and prosecution office. The administration responsible for the district of the released person must present him to a physician to sign a medical examination of said person every six months and submit a report on his condition to the prison authorities to determine his health condition in order to cancel the release order if necessary.
“The Director General of the Prison may instruct the prison medical department’s director and the forensic doctor to examine the released prisoner to determine his or her health condition whenever they think it necessary. The released prisoner may be returned to prison to complete his sentence by order of the public prosecutor if the re-examination by the two doctors proves that the health condition has sufficiently improved.
Article 486 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
“If the person sentenced to a prison is suffering from a disease that threatens his life, the penalty may be postponed. The prosecution must task the forensic doctor to examine his condition. If he is found to be infected with such disease, and if the accused was not already put in jail, the penalty may be postponed.
“However, if he was diagnosed with this disease that threatens his life while already incarcerated, the Director of the Medical Department of the Prisons Service is to examine him in conjunction with the forensic doctor to consider his release on ‘medical parole’.
“The decision shall be executed after approval by the Director General of Prisons and the approval of the Attorney General, and the period of time the convict spends out of prison and under treatment is counted as part of his penalty and discounted from the period of his incarceration sentence.
“However, if the convict suffers insanity, the penalty must be postponed until he is sane. The prosecution may order that he be placed in a mental hospital. The period of time spent by the accused in the hospital for treatment shall be calculated as part of the duration of his sentence.”
El-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Hisham Mubarak Law Center
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Freedom of Thought and Expression Foundation