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Sanaa Seif to begin sit-in outside UK Foreign Office to pressure gov’t to secure Alaa’s release

October 18, 2022 at 1:06 pm

Actress Sanaa Seif during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at Yarrow Hotel Theater on January 18, 2013 in Park City, Utah [Natalie Cass/Getty Images]

Sanaa Seif will today begin a sit-in at Whitehall outside the Foreign Office to try and help secure the release of her brother who is in prison in Egypt.

Sanaa will call on the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to urgently meet the family and explain what the government is doing to secure Alaa Abdelfattah’s release.

According to Amnesty International, Sanaa will stay outside the Foreign Office until either Cleverly agrees to meet her or until COP27 begins next month. Amnesty activists will attend as will Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy.

Sanaa and her sister Mona have for months been calling on the British government to exert more pressure on their ally Egypt to release Alaa.

READ: Award-winning Egypt lawyer banned from travel ahead of Aurora prize ceremony in Italy

Prominent British-Egyptian activist Alaa has been imprisoned in Egypt since late 2019 yet has still not received a visit from the British consulate.

Alaa had only been out of prison for six months after a five-year prison term when he was rearrested and detained again.

He has been tortured inside prison, denied family visits and has had reading and writing materials restricted.

Tomorrow, Alaa will have been on hunger strike for 200 days to protest his prison sentence.

Sanaa Seif was sentenced to a year and a half in prison in 2021 for “spreading false news” after she was detained outside the public prosecutor’s office where she was filing a complaint about an assault on her and her mother.

Sanaa had campaigned on social media for the release of prisoners as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic spread.

As the COP27 UN climate summit approaches, human rights defenders are putting pressure on the Egyptian government to release political prisoners and grant them due process.