Prominent British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdelfattah has told his family he might die in prison as his hunger strike continues with no sign he will be released, reports the Guardian.
Alaa has been on hunger strike since the first day of Ramadan in April, to try and secure his release and a consular visit, which he is entitled to as a British citizen.
“I don’t want to upset you, but I don’t believe there’s any chance of individual salvation,” Alaa told his mother when she visited him in prison.
Alaa also called on the government to release prisoners including those held in pretrial detention without charge.
Alaa is one of 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt kept in dire conditions, including being denied adequate medical care and being held on remand for more than the two-year legal limit.
Amnesty International has said that Alaa’s imprisonment has cast a shadow over the upcoming COP27 climate summit, which has been slammed by activists as an excuse to greenwash Egypt’s human rights violations.
His comments come as Egypt has released a report on environmental activism, which criticises the government for severely curtailing the work of environmental groups working to protect the country’s natural environment.
The rights watchdog said that Egypt had placed onerous restrictions on independent NGOs and created a climate of fear under which activists are too afraid to operate.
Climate rights defenders have said that Alaa’s imprisonment is symbolic of how demonstrators will be treated at the UN-hosted conference and does not inspire hope for a free debate on climate change.
At a time when governments need civil society to pressure them into addressing the climate crisis, it’s likely Egypt will continue to crackdown on protesters.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said he will create a facility adjacent to the main event for protesters, which was met with widespread criticism by rights organisations.
Alaa has said that it is ironic that Egypt was chosen to host the conference when it has effectively banned protests.