Former Green Party leader calls on UK to step up efforts to release Alaa Abdelfattah – Middle East Monitor

The Green Party’s former leader Caroline Lucas has written a letter to the prime minister calling on him to step up efforts to secure the release of a British activist detained in an Egyptian prison.

In December 2021 Alaa Abdelfattah was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of spreading false news after being arrested in late 2019.

Shortly after his arrest Abdelfattah said he was beaten, threatened, and robbed inside prison.

His lawyers said he was blindfolded on his way to prison, told to strip to his underwear and beaten on his back and neck.

A popular pro-democracy activist, Abdelfattah was a leading voice during the 2011 uprising.

His case was the forefront of news during the Cop27 climate summit when world leaders gathered in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Abdelfattah escalated his hunger strike and stopped drinking water.

Granted British citizenship whilst in jail, Abdelfattah’s family and activists used the publicity around the summit to increase pressure on the British government to secure his release.

Rishi Sunak met with Sisi during the summit and said he was working towards his release, but Abdelfattah remains in jail and has not even been granted a consular visit.

READ: ‘I am not ending my hunger strike until they approve my asylum request or I die’

At that time a video clip circulated of Sunak fleeing from a reporter at Cop27 who asked about the status of Abdelfattah and his hunger strike.

The UN, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard, and authors Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy have all called for Abdelfattah to be released.

As his health deteriorated, Abdelfattah had to give up his hunger strike, despite not being released.

“It is now six months since you met with President Al-Sisi in Egypt at Cop27,” Lucas wrote in her letter.

“I am writing to ask what progress has been made in Alaa’s case since then.”

Lucas called on Sunak to use the UK’s leverage with Egypt secured through their bilateral relationship to call for the activist’s unconditional release.

There are some 60,000 political prisoner incarcerated in Egypt many of whom are systematically tortured and denied adequate medical attention.

Source link