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10 women begin open-ended hunger strike in Egypt’s Qanater prison

December 19, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Egyptian woman Radwa disappeared following a video she posted online criticising the Egyptian government, 13 November 2019 [Twitter]

Ten women detained in Qanater women’s prison in Egypt have started a hunger strike to protest their ill-treatment and inhumane conditions.

The women have said they resorted to the open-ended strike as a last resort after finding no legal recourse to express their suffering.

Among the women are 25-year-old Radwa Mohamed, who was arrested in September shortly after she released a video criticising Intisar Al-Sisi, the wife of the president, for not standing up to her husband over his repressive policies.

After she disappeared, the Arabic hashtag “where is Radwa” was trending in Egypt.

Also on strike is Egyptian-American teacher Reem Mohamed Desouky who was arrested at Cairo airport in August after criticising the regime on Facebook.

Her son was also detained but then released 11 hours later.

Aya Alaa, who has joined the strike, was arrested over the summer after offering her condolences to the late President Mohamed Morsi at his family home the day after his death.

Her husband, the journalist Hassan El-Kabany, was rearrested in September this year after being released from Tora Prison where he was tortured and denied medical care.

READ: 2 years after he disappeared in Egypt, no signs of Abu Bakr

The couple have two young daughters and during their father’s first imprisonment Aya would regularly post photos of them outside the prison gates.

Egyptian lawyer and member of the Istiqlal Party Sahar Ali, air hostess Soha Saeed, activist Asma Khalid, journalist Solafa Magdy, student Alaa Al-Sayed, Nada Basyouni and Yasmine Hisham are also on strike.

Earlier this week co-founder of the 6 April movement Israa Abdelfattah was transferred to Qanater prison hospital after her health severely deteriorated.

Israa began a hunger and thirst strike to pressure prosecutors to open a case into complaints that she had been tortured in custody.

The pro-regime Ahram newspaper had published two articles, one that denies the ten inmates at Qanater women’s prison are on hunger strike, describing reports as “fabrications”.

In the other an official source denies that Israa’s health is deteriorating or that she was transferred to hospital, alleging, “this news is completely untrue”

Since July 2013 some 2,762 women have been arrested in Egypt and 125 are currently imprisoned, according to the human rights organisation We Record.