Friday Prayers for Egypt: Prison Conditions

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Reports have been ample from Egyptian prisons with accounts of mistreatment, even torture. And this week smuggled video purported a look inside, picturing squalid conditions and cramped quarters. The government denies the veracity of these sources, insisting that after the revolution a commitment to human rights has reformed the system. A visit from the National Council for Human Rights yielded conflicting testimony.

Meanwhile the broader issues of respect for human rights and the detention of thousands has taken the attention of several at the United Nations. Twenty-seven countries issued a statement against the government, and had their ambassadors summoned in return, warning them against meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs.

God, these are trying times in Egypt, with conspiracies swirling and legitimacies contested. But a nation is known by how it treats the least of its citizens. Bless those in prison. Comfort them in their troubles. Convict them of their sins. Visit them with your presence.

Give them their rights, God, and do so through the government. Do so through their lawyers. Do so through journalists and human rights activists. Egypt has a long and sordid history to overcome, and if the revolution has changed the discourse, reform will face many challenges. Empower those in the Interior Ministry who will abide by the right.

But where there is ill-treatment, and where there is fabrication, rid Egypt of both. Establish transparent systems that can hold all accountable. Remove the fog of uncertainty that clouds so many issues, that citizens of the nation would discern all truth.

And inasmuch as foreign nations claim to see clearly, may they find the log in their own eyes first. But use them, God, to pressure Egypt appropriately. It feels too much to ask the whole world system to reflect your will, but thank you that human rights are an international concern. Where there is hypocrisy, expose it. Where there is opportunism, void it. But let the light shining on Egypt reveal both its virtue and vice, that all may be clean.

May it be, God, that Egypt’s prisons are free of abuse – both now and in the future. Bless those there on both sides of the bars. No prison is wholesome, but may all emerge so. Let coming testimonies reflect this reality.


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