Pressure mounts on Egypt to release Alaa Abd el-Fattah

Egypt is facing intense pressure, as calls mount for the release of imprisoned British-Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah.

The activist has been on a hunger strike for over six months to protest his unjust arrest which has recently escalated, as he is now refusing to drink water.

Abd el-Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif has travelled to Sharm el-Sheikh where COP27 negotiations are taking place, urging world leaders to campaign for his release. His family say they don’t know what condition he is in and fear he could die in prison.

Brick wall covered in colorful graffiti art

‘My mother waited outside the prison gates for 10 hours yesterday for her weekly letter. They didn’t give her one. She is back at those gates right now,’ she told a news conference at COP27. ‘I asked the British authorities to get us some proof that Alaa is alive and conscious. I did not get any response.’

The United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk has joined calls for the activist to be released, saying his life is ‘at acute risk.’

‘I urge the Government to immediately release Abdel Fattah from prison and provide him with the necessary medical treatment,’ Mr. Türk said in a statement.

‘My Office and other UN Human Rights Mechanisms have raised Abdel Fattah’s case and the cases of other individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and incarcerated after unfair trials on multiple occasion.’

Mr Türk joins a variety of environmental activists in calling for the release of all people detained on dubious charges and unfairly convicted, an issue which has been a point of contention at COP27.

A Downing Street spokesperson has said Rishi Sunak is ‘deeply concerned’ about the welfare of Abd el-Fattah, but yesterday there were reports of the prime minister refusing to answer a journalist’s questions on the matter.

Photo by baher khairy


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