The United Kingdom Foreign Office must immediately intervene in the unlawful, and life-threatening imprisonment of British-Egyptian activist, blogger, and software developer Alaa Abd El-Fattah in Egypt.
“Enough is absolutely enough,” said Kassem Mnejja, MENA Campaigner at Access Now. “The world has let activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah languish in prison for sharing a social media post about human rights abuses in Egyptian prisons. Today, the UK Foreign Office has both the power and the responsibility to intervene, and extract Alaa — a changemaker, a pioneer, and a UK citizen — from the four walls of his cell.”
Imprisoned on and off for a decade, and currently locked up since 2019, Alaa is today on an ongoing hunger strike in Wadi el-Natrun prison complex, after being transferred from Tora Maximum Security prison. Alaa’s family confirmed on 19 May, 2022, that Alaa “slept on a mattress for the first time in years.” Alaa’s health is rapidly and significantly deteriorating.
Through an open letter addressed to Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, Access Now and a coalition of civil society organisations are urgently pressing the UK Foreign Office to secure Alaa’s release and safe transfer to the UK as well as the following:
- Raise Alaa’s case through bi-lateral diplomatic channels with the Egyptian government and demand his immediate release;
- Issue a public statement calling for the immediate release of Alaa; and
- Ensure Alaa receives regular consular visits and unhindered access to his lawyers in the UK.
“Alaa is not an abstract notion. He is a human being, a father to a 10 year old, our amazing older brother, our mother’s best friend – both of them are geeks beyond words, an inspiring writer, a vocal individual, & a UK citizen who must be immediately rescued by @trussliz [Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom],” tweeted Mona Seif, Alaa’s sister and activist, earlier this month.
Access Now has been campaigning to #FreeAlaa since his persecution began, and will continue to fight for his freedom until no bars impede his view. Regardless of citizenship or nationality, every activist locked up for daring to speak out in Egypt should be released.