Alaa Abd El-Fattah must be set free. Amid a total local blackout on his precarious health situation, Access Now and civil society from around the globe are incredibly alarmed by the news that the British-Egyptian activist is receiving medical intervention without authorities informing his family or lawyer as he languishes through a hunger and water strike in his prison cell. It is unclear if this means Alaa is being force-fed, a medically dangerous and violent act of torture.
“Keeping Alaa alive with the intent to cement and prolong his torture is a depraved and inhumane act of vengeance by a regime hellbent on wiping out any trace of the 2011 revolution,” said Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Mananger at Access Now. “The UK government must immediately intervene to free Alaa and end this cruelty.”
As the Egyptian government tightens ranks, Alaa’s family, and the whole world, need proof of life now. While information on Alaa’s current situation is sparse due to authorities blocking his visitation, his sister, Mona Seif, Tweeted about an interaction with prison staff, who reportedly stated, “Medical intervention has been taken with Alaa, with the knowledge of judicial entities.” Alaa’s lawyer reported today, November 10, that he had been granted a visit, but was subsequently denied access to the prison.
After years of imprisonment, stripped of freedom, and denied all resources such as books, radios, or consular access, Alaa’s body is the only weapon he has left. In April 2022, Alaa commenced an open-ended hunger strike, consuming only 100-calories per day. On 1 November, 2022, he escalated to a full hunger strike. On 6 November, 2022, at the start of COP27 — the world’s leading climate change summit hosted in Egypt — Alaa stopped drinking water. In response, reports of the regime’s “medical intervention” against the activist emerged.
“For more than a decade, authorities in Egypt have hounded Alaa,” said Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at Access Now. “They’ve locked him up, deprived him of contact with friends and family, denied him access to his own consulate, yet he has not given up fighting. The Egyptian regime will not defeat Alaa — setting him free is their only option.”
With the world’s attention on Egypt, pressure must continue to mount until Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi releases Alaa and all activists and prisoners of conscience detained for exercising their human rights.