US rights group says abuse rife in notorious Egypt prison

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Human Rights Watch says prison guards at a maximum-security facility in the Egyptian capital that holds political prisoners routinely abuse them in ways that may have contributed to some of their deaths.

In a detailed report on Cairo's infamous Scorpion Prison released Wednesday, the U.S.-based watchdog says authorities punish inmates by putting them in cramped cells, cut off access to families and lawyers, and interfere with medical treatment.

Joe Stork, the group's deputy Middle East and North Africa director, says the prison "sits at the end of the state's repressive pipeline, ensuring that political opponents are left with no voice and no hope." He adds that the facility's "purpose seems to be little more than a place to throw government critics and forget them."