Hawamdiya sugar company forces father to retract allegations

A health ministry committee took water samples from the home of Sheikh Hassan Haddad after Al-Masry Al-Youm ran an investigative feature in which Haddad indicated that his sons’ kidney failure was due to water in Hawamdiya being polluted by a sugar company’s industrial waste.

Haddad said his family had been subjected to blackmail by the sugar company’s medical center director. The medical director, Haddad said, made him certify in writing that the sugar company was not responsible for the infection of his sons’ kidneys, in exchange for the sons being treated at the center, near his home.

Haddad went on to say that after Al-Masry Al-Youm carried its feature story on the Hawamdiya water pollution, which included his own statements that the potable water was the main reason for his sons’ illness, he was surprised when the director of the Hawamdiya Sugar Company’s medical center, Dr. Ahmed Ismail, wanted to meet him at the center, where his sons received dialysis.

Haddad had stated in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm that he had watched workers at the company wash huge metal containers with sulfuric acid that traveled, with the industrial waste, through huge pipes directly into the Nile.

"What is happening between you and the sugar company? What is this story of contaminated water?" Haddad quotes the doctor as saying to him. Haddad says that he replied, "I am not a doctor or chemist to tell you that it is the water that caused my sons’ kidney failure. It is the job of the specialists."

Haddad continues: "I told you I saw the sugar company [workers] throw waste into the Nile and water reached my home full of sediment. I, like the other residents of Hawamdiya, used to put a small piece of material on the faucet at home to remove the sediment from the water.

"I was taken aback when the center director asked me to sign on a paper certifying that I had no complaint against the sugar company, and that it had not been the cause of [my sons’] kidney infections," said Haddad. "After that he took me to the police station in Hawamdiya to sign on the retraction there.

"Because my sons are the dearest to me in my life and I do not know what to do with them if their treatment at the center stops, I agreed to sign the statement. Still, I am concerned that my sons could be harmed due to the anger of company officials over my remarks," he added.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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