Sister of jailed Egypt dissident announces hunger strike

AFP

3 min read
Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah (R) next to his sister Mona Saif at their home in Cairo, Egypt, on May 17, 2019.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFPEgyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah (R) next to his sister Mona Saif at their home in Cairo, Egypt, on May 17, 2019.

Alaa Abdel Fattah has reportedly gone for 75 days without food

Egyptian activist Mona Seif announced Wednesday that she had begun a hunger strike in solidarity with her jailed brother Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has reportedly gone for 75 days without food.

Abdel Fattah, a key figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak, has been on a hunger strike since early April to protest his prison conditions, according to his family.

"I'm not a prisoner, I have so many other means and paths to protest, but this time I am using my body to mirror Alaa's hunger strike," Seif tweeted.

"Everyday I deprive myself of food, is bonded by the days Alaa has starved himself in prison," she added.

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Egypt's interior ministry said last week it had footage that "disproves" his family's reports that Abdel Fattah has been on hunger strike for weeks. 

In response to the statement, his sister tweeted that the ministry should "share this footage with his family, lawyers and Alaa," allow a consular visit and investigate reports the family had filed about Abdel Fattah's condition.

Abdel Fattah gained UK citizenship in April from inside prison, through his British-born mother Laila Soueif. His family has since been pushing for a consular visit. 

The activist has spent the better part of the past decade behind bars, mainly in the notorious Tora prison. He is currently serving a five-year sentence for "broadcasting false news", an accusation frequently leveled against dissidents in Egypt.

Earlier in April, Egypt released 41 political prisoners from pre-trial detention. Rights groups estimate a total of some 60,000 political prisoners remain behind the bars with many of them facing brutal conditions and overcrowded cells. 

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