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Monday, 17 June 2019

Egyptian hunger strike campaign gains momentum

A hunger strike campaign has been launched this week to protest the prolonged detainment of political detainees with no set date for their trials

Passant Darwish , Wednesday 10 Sep 2014
Hunger Strike Campaign
A family member of a detained activist on hunger strike (L), Political Activist Zizo Abdo (C),novelist Laila Soueif (R) Launching Hunger Strike Campaign (Photo: Hend Nafea)
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A hunger strike campaign in solidarity with Egyptian political detainees has gained momentum, with more joining the strike outside and inside prison.

The campaign, launched last week, condemns the prolonged detainment of detainees without setting a date for their trials.

The campaign is calling for the release of all political detainees as well as the revoking of a controversial protest law and all subsequent prison sentences.

Statistics

So far, 123 Egyptians are currently on hunger strike both inside and outside of detention, according to Freedom of the Brave, a movement calling for the release of political detainees.

Inside prisons and detention cells, 59 are on hunger strike while 64 are on hunger strike outside detention in solidarity with the detainees.

According to Freedom of the Brave, of the 64 striking outside detention, 57 are on a full hunger strike while seven are on a partial hunger strike.

Police reports have been filed to document the hunger strikes of some of those outside and inside detention. However, the majority of hunger strikes remain officially undocumented.

Mohamed Sultan, detained since August 2013, has been on a hunger strike for 227 days inside Tora Prison, making him the longest hunger striker. Sultan was arrested when authorities raided his home while searching for his father, Muslim Brotherhoodl leading member Salah Sultan.

The second longest hunger striker in detainment is Ibrahim El-Yamany, on hunger strike for 146 days now. El-Yamany is a doctor who was arrested in the field hospital of Fatah Mosque protests on 16 August 2013.

Outside prison, public figures on hunger strike include Laila Soueif and Mona Seif, the mother and sister, respectively, of political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Sanaa Seif, both on hunger strike in prison.   

Strike venues

Freedom of the Brave has registered hunger strikers in five Egyptian governorates: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Beheira and Daqahliya.

The strikers have organised a sit-in in a number of public venues for their hunger strikes. Venues include the National Human Rights Council (NHRC), the Bread and Freedom Party, still under construction, the headquarters of the Egyptian Popular Current and the Strong Egypt Party.

Seven of the strikers in the National Human Rights Council were convicted for protests outside of the Shura Council and are appealing a 15-year prison sentence.

Baho Baksh, one of the founders of Freedom of the Brave, told Ahram Online that the hunger strikers are attempting to coordinate with the Journalists Syndicate to provide refuge for all hunger strikers to move their sit-ins inside the syndicate.

Baksh said the syndicate would probably refuse, but they will attempt to negotiate to move all hunger strikers' sit-ins inside the syndicate for a few days for easier media access.

Meanwhile, the syndicate will open its doors to journalists on hunger strike. Two journalists, Mostafa Bassouiny and Mona Selim, will start their hunger strike on Thursday at the syndicate, Baksh added.

A number of political parties declared their support with the hunger strike campaign in a presser on Monday. The parties include the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Constitution Party.

At the presser, Human Rights Council's Naser Amin said the protest law is currently undergoing an ammendement phase, and that the council has been asked to participate in the ammended draft.

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