Alaa Abdel Fattah undergoes medical intervention by Egyptian authorities amid starvation strike


SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — The household of Alaa Abdel Fattah, the British-Egyptian political prisoner on a starvation and water strike in jail, was knowledgeable by Egyptian officers on Thursday that he has undergone “a medical intervention with the knowledge of a judicial authority,” they mentioned.

The household is now demanding rapid entry to him, whether or not in jail or a hospital, expressing considerations he may die underneath the care of Egyptian authorities because of the seriousness of his well being situation after greater than 200 days on starvation strike, together with with out water since Sunday.

The escalation comes in the future earlier than President Biden is about to land in Egypt to go to COP27, the U.N. Local weather Convention at the moment going down within the coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The USA is an in depth ally of Egypt and gives greater than $1 billion in army help to the nation every year, however has repeatedly criticized its human rights file. His household has made repeated public appeals to the White Home to intervene within the case.

Local weather talks in Egypt overshadowed by shouting matches over human rights

Abdel Fattah, who’s 40 and a once-prominent activist within the 2011 revolution, has been out and in of jail for the final decade on prices human rights group decry as makes an attempt to silence dissent. He was sentenced to 5 years in jail final yr after he was discovered responsible of “spreading false news undermining national security.”

His case has develop into a central matter at COP27 — particularly after an Egyptian lawmaker confronted his youthful sister, Sanaa Seif, at a information convention discussing his case.

Egyptian media reported Wednesday {that a} lawyer in Cairo has since filed a case towards Seif, accusing her of “conspiring with foreign agencies hostile to the Egyptian state” and “spreading false news,” amongst different allegations. The submitting of the case alone doesn’t guarantee will probably be pursued however the household mentioned it quantities to an intimidation tactic after Seif’s outspoken help of her brother on the worldwide convention, the place Egypt hoped human rights points wouldn’t take center-stage.

The alternative has come true because the message #FreeAlaa has unfold all through the convention, garnering help from local weather activists. On Thursday, some attendees wearing white — the colour of jail uniforms in Egypt — and gathered for a protest over local weather justice and to specific solidarity with political prisoners right here.

The protests can be unthinkable anyplace in Egypt outdoors the U.N.-controlled zone at COP27 on account of tight restrictions on public gatherings.

Forward of the convention, Seif camped outdoors the British Overseas Workplace to demand a gathering with high officers and pledges they might guarantee her brother, who claimed his British citizenship from jail final yr and was issued a British passport, be launched. The siblings’ mom, Laila Soueif, a math professor at Cairo College, was born in London.

On Thursday, the siblings’ mom — who has waited outdoors every day this week for a letter from her son — was requested to go away the world of the Wadi el-Natroun jail complicated outdoors Cairo the place he’s being held.

The household’s lawyer, Khaled Ali, then introduced on social media that he has been accepted to go to Abdel Fattah and is on his strategy to the ability — his first go to since early 2020.

Seif flew from London to Sharm el-Sheikh early this week, the place she has repeatedly raised her brother’s case as a part of discussions on human rights. The household, who final heard from him in a letter final week that he would cease consuming water on Sunday, has repeatedly warned that he may die earlier than the convention ends subsequent week. Seif mentioned Wednesday that she doesn’t know if he’s nonetheless alive.

A number of world leaders, together with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, raised his case instantly with President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. Beneath the phrases of his sentencing, the presidency is the one workplace with the authority to pardon him. However regardless of days of calls for, his household has nonetheless not had proof of life or seen any indication he could also be launched.

This week, U.N. Human Rights Excessive Commissioner Volker Türk known as on Egypt to instantly launch Abdel Fattah. “No one should be detained for exercising their basic human rights or defending those of others,” he mentioned. “I also encourage the authorities to revise all laws that restrict civic space and curtail the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.”

Egypt’s U.N. mission in Geneva issued its personal assertion rejecting the remarks, accusing Türk of undermining the independence of Egypt’s judiciary and the credibility of his personal workplace.

His description of Abdel Fattah’s imprisonment as “unfair,” the assertion mentioned, was “an unacceptable insult.”

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