Number of jailed Egyptian activists go on hunger strike

Ahram Online, Wednesday 20 Aug 2014

April 6 Youth Movement founder Maher, member Adel, long-time activist Douma and Abdel Moneim (Al-Noubi) have launched a new campaign protesting their continued detention

Political activists
Political activists Ahmed Maher (R), Ahmed Douma (C) and Mohamed Adel, founder of 6 April movement, look on from behind bars in Abdeen court in Cairo, December 22, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

A number of jailed Egyptian activists decided late Tuesday to go on an open-ended hunger strike in a new attempt to protest their detention.

Founder of the April 6 Youth Movement Ahmed Maher, member Mohamed Adel, long-time activists Ahmed Douma and Ahmed Abdel-Rahman (Noubi), decided to launch a new campaign against their detention.

Zizo Abdo, April 6 Youth Movement member, told Ahram Online that the campaign was initiated by the detained activists, and that the movement will try to support it from outside.

"We haven’t discussed how we will be supporting the campaign yet, but the detained activists will be on a hunger strike until they get released," said Abdo.

The detainees' decision came a day after another prominent jailed activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, decided to go on hunger strike while in detention after visiting his sick father in hospital.

Abdel-Fattah as well as Noubi has been jailed pending retrial on charges of rioting, destruction of public property and using violence against security forces.

Last December, an Egyptian Misdemeanor Court sentenced Maher, Adel and Douma to three years in jail and a LE50,000 fine each for charges including organising illegal protests

Blogger Douma and leading activist Maher were arrested after allegedly assaulting policemen at an illegal protest outside a Cairo court where Maher was turning himself in to authorities answering an arrest warrant.

An arrest order had been issued against Maher for organising a separate protest in late November to reject military trials for civilians in the draft constitution. 

Douma is also facing another trial for allegedly attacking security personnel at the cabinet building in December 2011.

Talking to Ahram Online, Abdo stressed that the circumstances of many activists inside prison are not improving, explaining that they are not offered neither proper food nor proper treatment.

"The detainees decided to change the scenario that the state has written for them; until this moment I have no idea why they are detained while other corrupt people are being released," he highlighted.

Others started a similar hunger strike earlier in the year. Egyptian-Americam Mohamed Sultan, arrested in August 2013 following the violent dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi protest camp at Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square in Cairo, has been on hunger strike for over 200 days.

Sultan, on hunger strike to protest his continued detention, was transferred to hospital for medical care, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

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