For almost two decades, Alaa Abdel-Fattah has been known among Egyptians as the anti-government blogger and activist feared the most by consecutive Egyptian governments. He has been jailed by every political regime that has ruled the country before and after the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Yet, the latest jail time he has been serving since September 2019 has had the hardest toll on his life.
Alaa Abdel-Fattah, 40-years-old father and son of prominent political activists Ahmed Seif El-Islam and Laila Soueif, was rearrested in September 2019 only a few months after release, following 5 years in jail between 2013- 2019.
We are British citizens. So is #AlaaAbdelfattah. @alsisiofficial Why do you not allow Alaa the consular visits he has a right to? As Wimbledon & Merton Amnesty group in the UK we call for @alsisiofficial to allow consular visits to #AlaaAbdelfattah. This is his right. #FreeAlaa pic.twitter.com/WllCDQVkWH— Amnesty Wimbledon & Merton (@AIWimbledon) May 8, 2022
Abdel-Fattah's latest arrest came amid anti-Sisi protests called on by exiled construction contractor who had accused Sisi of massive corruption in a series of videos in 2019, even though Abdel-Fattah had expressed his opposition to these protests on social media, deeming it ineffective.
Since then, Abdel-Fattah has reported several unusual measures against him, including solitary confinement, heavy surveillance, and being prevented from seeing the sun, exercising, having books, or having access to knowing the time for more than two years.
In December 2021, Abdel-Fattah was sentenced to yet another five years in jail, after being accused of "broadcasting false news."
I'm scared. I feel it in my stomach, officials -both sides Egypt & UK- will not take real ACTION until @alaa actually dies— Mona Seif (@Monasosh) May 15, 2022
As if they are all waiting for physical proof of the magnitude of crimes committed in Tora Max prison II.
My brother's corpse will definitely provide that
In response, Alaa Abdel-Fattah who has been reported to have suicidal thoughts, according to his mother and two sisters who get to visit him on a monthly basis, has decided to go on a hunger strike since the start of April 2022, demanding an end to the unusual measures he has been subjected to.
In April 2022, Abdel-Fattah's family announced that he and his family members were granted British citizenship, as a result of his mother, prominent activist, and university professor Laila Soueif being born in the UK. Consequently, his family urged the UK government to demand Alaa Abdel-Fattah's release and for him to travel to the UK immediately.
On Thursday May 12th our mother visited @alaa in prison— Mona Seif (@Monasosh) May 14, 2022
This would be our only visit until June 12th, so please keep that in mind while reading Mama's account of what happened.https://t.co/uhm7Cub0XH#SaveAlaa #FreeAlaa pic.twitter.com/4fFPlgHIZG
However, Egyptian authorities have not been responsive ever since.
Following her last visit to Alaa at Tora Prison, his mother, Laila Soueif expressed serious concerns over his health situation as a result of his hunger strike; saying she is afraid he will not be alive by the time of her next monthly visit.
Online people have since been heavily tweeting in support of Alaa Abdel-Fattah and his family, hoping they can pressure both the UK and the Egyptian governments to guarantee his release as soon as possible.