Family: Egypt activist in jail begins ‘full starvation strike’


LONDON — Egypt’s most outstanding imprisoned activist went on “full hunger strike”’ on Tuesday and plans to cease ingesting water on the primary day of the worldwide local weather summit subsequent week, his household stated.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah, an outspoken dissident and a U.Ok. citizen, rose to prominence with the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Center East and in Egypt toppled long-time President Hosni Mubarak. The 40-year outdated activist spent a lot of the previous decade behind bars and his detention has turn out to be an emblem of Egypt’s return to autocratic rule.

As worldwide highlight focuses on Egypt forward of the local weather summit — or COP27 — within the Purple Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Abdel-Fattah’s household has been lobbying for his launch. His sister, Sanaa Seif, has been staging a sit-in on the headquarters of Britain’s overseas ministry to push the U.Ok. to take motion in his case.

Abdel-Fattah stated in a letter to his household that he would begin the “full hunger strike,” his different sister, Mona Seif, tweeted Monday.

For months, Abdel-Fattah has been on a partial starvation strike, consuming solely 100 energy a day and his household is worried for his well being. He wrote that on Nov. 6, the primary day of the COP27, he can even quit water.

The household, which communicates with Abdel-Fattah via weekly letters and through uncommon visits, says it fears that if Abdel-Fattah just isn’t launched through the local weather convention, he would die with out water. The household’s subsequent go to is Nov. 17.

An Egyptian authorities media officer didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday. Authorities have beforehand denied that Abdel-Fattah is on a starvation strike.

He was first sentenced in 2014 after being convicted of collaborating in an unauthorized protest and allegedly assaulting a police officer. He was launched in 2019 after serving a five-year time period however was rearrested later that yr in a crackdown that adopted uncommon anti-government protests.

In December 2021, he was sentenced to a different five-year time period on costs of spreading false information. He additionally faces separate costs of misusing social medial and becoming a member of a terrorist group — a reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities declared a terrorist group in 2013.

In April, the household introduced he had obtained British citizenship via his mom, Laila Soueif, a math professor at Cairo College who was born in London. The household stated then that they sought a British passport for Abdel-Fattah as a manner out of his “impossible ordeal.”

The federal government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, a U.S. ally with deep financial ties to European international locations, has been relentlessly silencing dissenters and clamping down on unbiased organizations for years with arrests and restrictions. Most of the prime activists concerned within the 2011 rebellion at the moment are in jail, most below a draconian regulation handed in 2013 that successfully banned all road protests.

Forward of the worldwide local weather convention, Egypt’s human rights file has come below rising scrutiny, although many activists concern that the eye to Abdel-Fattah’s case will wane as quickly because the convention attracts to a detailed and world leaders return residence.

“He decided that if they’re determined to keep him in prison forever, or until he dies, then at least he will decide the terms of the battle and lead the charge,” his sister Mona Seif stated in a video assertion posted on social media. “I can’t ask him to stop what he’s doing,”

An influential blogger, Abdel-Fattah hails from a household of political activists, legal professionals and writers. His late father was one among Egypt’s most tireless rights legal professionals. His sisters — additionally British residents — are additionally political activists, and his aunt is the award-winning novelist Ahdaf Soueif.

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