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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Three Egyptian police, four convicts killed in escape attempt from notorious prison

Tora Prison is notorious due to the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners there [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2020

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Three Egyptian policemen were killed when four convicts tried to escape the notorious Tora prison in Cairo. The convicts were later killed by security forces.

Three Egyptian police officers were killed when four men, convicted on terror-related charges and awaiting their death sentences, attempted on Wednesday to escape from a notorious Cairo prison, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry, which oversees the country’s police and prisons, said in a brief statement that security forces killed the four convicts while they were trying to flee the heavily fortified Tora Prison complex, on the southern outskirts of the Egyptian capital.

The statement did not elaborate how the convicts attempted to escape. Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners is common in Tora Prison, where inmates are also at risk of coronavirus.

The four were sentenced to death in separate terror-related cases. Three of the convicted were tried and convicted in 2014 for the killing and attempted killing of several members of the Egyptian security forces.

Read also: Death no. 1005 – Shady Habash

They were among over 20 defendants charged with carrying out militant attacks following the military's 2013 overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since the coup, Egyptian authorities have imprisoned tens of thousands of people on trumped-up political and ‘terror’ charges and human rights groups have condemned the lack of transparency in the Egyptian justice system.

Hundreds of people have been sentenced to death by courts whose procedures have been described as ‘grossly unfair’ by Amnesty International.

The fourth man who escaped, allegedly a supporter of the Islamic State group, was convicted of stabbing a Coptic Christian doctor to death at his Cairo clinic in 2017. The defendant was sentenced to death in 2018.

An Islamist insurgency, spearheaded by a local affiliate of Islamic State, has been ongoing in Egypt for years, but it is mostly confined to the Sinai peninsula. The insurgency exacerbated after the coup against Morsi.

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