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6 years on, deputy leader of Egypt’s Wasat Party remains in solitary confinement

Deputy leader of Egypt’s Wasat Party has been imprisoned for six years in solitary confinement having been denied family visits for two years and meetings with his lawyer for three.

Essam Sultan fainted in court in 2017. His family have said his health has deteriorated inside the Scorpion wing of Tora Prison where he is being held.

In October, shortly after he fainted, his wife Noha Abdullah accused prison authorities of starving the detainees after they deprived him of food and drink.

Early last year, in a leaked letter, Sultan described conditions inside the prison where the sewage was attracting mosquitoes.

He described an unidentified paper circulating in jail, which outlined reconciliation with the regime. Those that signed it received incentives and those that didn’t were subject to tougher punitive measures.

After his arrest Sultan became one of 793 defendants charged with staging an armed gathering at Rabaa Square in Cairo and murdering policemen and citizens.

In August 2013 some 1,000 people were killed in Rabaa Square by security forces as they gathered for a pro-democracy demonstration.

Sultan was tried alongside key members of the Muslim Brotherhood including former President Mohammed Morsi and Mohamed El-Beltagy, the General Secretary of the organisation whose daughter was killed during the Rabaa sit-in.

The Muslim Brotherhood was labelled a terror organisation in 2013 and all members of the opposition are accused of belonging to the group, whether they are or not. Sultan’s party, Wasat, was a splinter group from the Brotherhood in 1996 founded by Abou Elela Mady, who cited a difference in vision.

Mady was released from prison in August 2015 after serving two years behind bars for allegedly inciting violence.

In August 2014 the Wasat Party left the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a coalition formed to oppose Morsi’s ouster.

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