Detained photojournalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada began a hunger strike Saturday for the second time during his temporary detention period, which has so far exceeded 400 days.
Ziada complained about the conditions of his imprisonment to the judge at his last court session, but there were no apparent signs of torture and the judge overlooked his claims.
According to his brother Mohamed, Ziada is protesting about “unjust practices” against him in Abou Zaabal prison. These come amid reports filed by his family to the Prosecutor General’s office on his torture and beating allegations.
According to activists in touch with the prisoners, last week witnessed a group beating of detainees by police officers. It is alleged that this mostly involved detained protestors from the case of the 25 January Revolution’s fourth anniversary in January.
The story appears to replicate similar incidents of a few months ago. Ziada commenced with a hunger strike in August 2014, which, according to his brother, lasted for 98 days. At the time, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) denounced his alleged beating inside jail.
In a statement released Saturday, Ziada’s family demanded officials from the Press Syndicate and the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) visit Abou Zaabal prison to look into the claims.
Last year, the NCHR was allowed by the Ministry of Interior to visit some prisons, including Tora prison. The council members stated on TV channels that there has been no evidence of systematic torture.
Ziada, along with 75 Al-Azhar University students, have been in police custody since December 2013 pending trial. They face protest and violence charges, as well as allegedly setting fire to the university’s Faculty of Commerce building. Their next session is due 1 April.