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Egypt: Cop27 becomes ‘Free Alaa Summit’ as pressure builds to release British hunger striker

Fears grow for the health of imprisoned British-Egyptian activist as Cairo considers force feeding him

November 9, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Pressure is building on the Egyptian government to release British-Egyptian activist, Alaa Abdelfattah as he reaches day four of a thirst strike.

At the beginning of this week, Alaa stopped drinking water as the UN’s climate summit kicked off in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, after a 200-day hunger strike failed to secure his release.

His sister, Mona Seif, told LBC that “unless Rishi Sunak comes back from Cop27 with my brother alive, Alaa won’t make it out of Egypt except in a coffin.”

Yesterday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights renewed calls on Cairo to release him:

Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, has said, “Let’s be clear, we’re running out of time. So if the authorities do not want to end up with a death they should have and could have prevented, they must act now. If they don’t, that death will be in every single discussion in this COP.”

In a letter to Alaa’s sister, Sanaa Seif, on Saturday, the UK’s Prime Minister said he was “totally committed to resolving” Alaa’s case and that he is a “priority for the British government”.

But, at the climate summit itself, Sunak was caught on camera walking away from a reporter who asks him whether or not he is demanding Alaa’s release:

Egypt’s former deputy Prime Minister, Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, has called on the government to release Alaa:

Three Egyptian journalists, Eman Auf, Mona Selim and Rasha Azab, announced they would start a hunger strike this week in solidarity with Alaa:

Last week, Sanaa and Mona announced that they had spoken to British Foreign Minister, James Cleverly, and that they would be ending their sit-in outside the Foreign Office, where they were further raising awareness of Alaa’s case.

“This is our final chapter as a family,” Mona said at a press conference. “If Alaa is not freed by Cop27, he is going to die in prison.”

Sanaa has arrived at Cop27 to further pressure the government to secure his release.

“I’m wondering what our freedom means when you don’t have yours,” novelist Arundhati Roy has said in a video message for Alaa.

“I’m wondering what our life means when life is leaving yours. And wondering what climate change conferences mean, when the countries that are hosting them are incarcerating and killing people.”

Protests are taking place around the world, in London, Beirut, New York, Washington DC, Rome, The Hague, Tunis, Ramallah:

Other families of political prisoners have spoken out:

Egypt’s Foreign Minister has suggested Alaa’s hunger strike has not been verified and that he may be force fed.

He added that Alaa is receiving medical treatment:

Egyptian MP, Amr Darwish, tried to disrupt the press conference Sanaa was holding for Alaa and was later removed by UN security.

Alaa Abdelfattah is in prison after sharing a post about the death of a prisoner in detention:

His mother, Laila Soueif, continues to wait at the gates of Wadi Al-Natroun prison for proof Alaa is alive:

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