November 29, 2022

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Alaa Abd El-Fattah: Hunger strike by jailed Egyptian-British activist could dominate COP27 summit, Amnesty chief warns

2 min read

Health & Fitness Journal —

The deteriorating health of jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah will dominate the upcoming COP27 summit unless Egyptian authorities intervene, Amnesty International has warned.

Fear has mounted for the life of writer Abd El-Fattah, who on Sunday escalated a more than 200-day hunger strike by refusing to drink water.

“Let’s be very clear, we’re running out of time. So if the authorities do not want to end up with a death that they should have and could have prevented, they must act now; 24, 48 hours, 72 hours at most, that’s how much time you have to save a life,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said at a news conference in Giza, Egypt, on Sunday.

“If they don’t, that death is going to stick with COP27, it’s going to be there in every single discussion, every single discussion, Alaa,” Callamard added.

Abd El-Fattah, who became a leading voice in the country’s 2011 insurgency, has been imprisoned for much of the past decade. In 2019, he was sentenced to an additional five years in prison for allegedly spreading false news after sharing a Facebook post highlighting human rights abuses in Egyptian prisons.

Callamard said the “extraordinarily serious human rights situation” in Egypt was “focused” on the agenda of the COP27 summit, which began Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“In other words, yes, it’s about climate justice, but you can’t get climate justice anywhere in the world, even in Egypt, if you don’t have human rights protections,” Callamard told reporters.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday pledged to raise Abd El-Fattah’s case before the Egyptian government when he attends next week’s summit.

In a letter to Abd El-Fattah’s sisterSanaa Seif, Sunak expressed concern at the activist’s “deteriorating health”, adding his case “remains a priority for the UK government”.

According to Sunak, British “ministers and officials continue to press for urgent consular access to Alaa and are calling for his release at the highest level of the Egyptian government”.

In a letter written to Sunak and shared with Health & Fitness Journal, Seif said, “I firmly believe that Alaa will personally die if he is not released in the coming days, possibly while you are in Egypt.”

Abd El-Fattah’s mother was born in London in 1956 and acquired British citizenship in 2021, according to the Free Alaa campaign website. He has since been granted the right to a consular visit by representatives of the British embassy, ​​a right previously denied to him by Egypt, Free Alaa said.

According to the Free Alaa campaign, Abd El-Fattah has been on a hunger strike since April 2nd.

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