WASHINGTON - In December 2021, the Egyptian government opened the new Badr Prison Complex, touting it as an “American-style” “correctional and rehabilitation center,” and offering it as proof of improving prison conditions, according to the Middle East Democracy Center.

Shortly after the prison’s opening, however, detainees reported significant abuses. Following a wave of suicide attempts between November 2022 and March 2023, a pressure campaign from human rights groups led to a temporary improvement of conditions in the facility.

MEDC’s first fact sheet, “Deteriorating Conditions in Egypt’s Badr Prison Complex,” explains how, since October 2023, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has taken advantage of the conflict in Gaza to resume rights violations and other abuses inside Badr, according to interviews conducted by MEDC.

Since the opening of Badr Prison Complex, rights groups have documented widespread abuses within the facility occasionally resulting in deaths and disturbing waves of suicide attempts.

Abuses by prison authorities include constant exposure to fluorescent lighting, nonstop surveillance of detainees and visiting family members, due process violations, and torture (including electrocution and being chained to the walls).

• Many detainees report being held in solitary confinement, deprived of fresh air and sunlight, and prevented from any communication with family members or lawyers. Per a leaked letter received by the Egyptian Network For Human Rights, detainees have responded by covering the surveillance cameras inside their cells and threatening further escalation.

• Detainees in some sections of Badr 3 report that the prison head office only allows irregular and infrequent family visits, about once every six weeks, despite prison regulations allowing for visits twice a month.

• In Section 2, prison authorities continue to deny family visits altogether. The majority of these detainees, including high-profile political prisoners, have been denied any visitation rights since 2015, well before their transfer to Badr prison.