search

Rights group: Egypt has days to save life of jailed activist on hunger strike

Egypt’s most prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah during a conference held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, on September 22, 2014. (AP/ Nariman el-Mofty)
Egypt’s most prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah during a conference held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, on September 22, 2014. (AP/ Nariman el-Mofty)

CAIRO — Amnesty International’s head warns that the proceedings of COP27 in Egypt could be stained by the death of the country’s leading rights activist from a hunger and water strike in prison if Egyptian authorities do not release him within days.

Secretary General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard says Egypt has no more than 72 hours to save the life of jailed dissident Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is also a UK citizen.

Egypt’s hosting of the climate summit, known as COP27, has trained a spotlight on its human rights record as a wide-reaching crackdown continues under President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The conference is being held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“If they do not want to end up with a death they should have and could have prevented, they must act now,” Callamard says in a press briefing in the capital of Cairo.

Callamard says she will be attending COP27 to push for action on human rights issues related to climate change, including loss and damage or reparations from richer countries to vulnerable nations suffering from climate change. Egypt is a proponent of the issue.

But she will also be there to push for immediate action on the case of prominent Egyptian activist and UK citizen Alaa Abdel Fattah and that of the tens of thousands of political prisoners estimated to be inside the country’s jails, she says.

Opposition figure Abdel-Fattah escalated his hunger strike this week, refusing also water, to coincide with the first day of the COP27, according to his family. His aunt, the writer Ahdaf Soueif, says he stopped drinking water at 10 a.m. local time today.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed