“ISIS recruiters continue to enjoy widespread access to other detainees and continue to successfully exploit their grievances, fueled in part by the Egyptian government’s use of torture and other abuse…. Far from being confined to one or two places of detention, this phenomenon is widespread throughout the Egyptian prison system,” concluded a Human Rights First report titled Creating Time Bombs: How Abuse in Egypt’s Prisons Fuels Isis Recruitment, issued today 24 September 2021 in Arabic for the first time by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).
This latest report reaffirms last year’s findings from Like a Fire in a Forest: ISIS Recruitment in Egypt’s Prisons the first report of Human Rights First, a United States-based organization, which warned that Egyptian prisons have come to represent an unparalleled opportunity for armed groups to spread violent extremist ideologies and recruit prisoners. These groups successfully recruit inside Egypt’s appalling prisons by ensuring detainees are given better treatment along with providing them with means to retaliate upon their release.
The Creating Time Bombs report reviews testimonies of prisoners released between 2019 and 2021, who reported to Human Rights First on the direly deteriorating conditions in Egypt’s prisons. The prisoners’ testimonies indicate a continuation of prisoner recruitment for ISIS, unchecked by the Egyptian state and fueled by torture and other violations rampant throughout the country’s prison system.
The report condemned the United States’ support of repressive and authoritarian governments like that of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Although such governments are seen by the US as partners in the ‘war on terror’, the testimonies of prisoners reveal how sacrificing human rights serves to strengthen terrorist organizations, supplying them with recruited fighters motivated by the egregious violations inflicted upon them inside Sisi’s prisons.
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