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47 convicted over protesting Egypt-Saudi islands deal begin open-ended hunger strike

More than 150 people were sentenced to between two and five years in prison 14 May over their participation in protests against an Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea maritime border demarcation deal last month

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 May 2016
15 April protests
Protesters outside Egypt's Downtown Press Syndicate on Friday, 15 April, 2016 (Photo: Mostafa Ali)
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A number of convicted prisoners — sentenced to between two and five years in prison for participation in protests against an Egypt-Saudi islands deal — have signed a statement announcing the beginning of a full open-ended hunger strike in protest against their jail sentences, starting 18 May.

The statement was issued late Wednesday on "Freedom of the Brave," a campaign to have released detained political prisoners in Egypt. 

Lawyer Amr Imam told Ahram Online that the prisoners have taken legal procedures ahead of beginning their hunger strike.   

"The legal procedure is to notify the prison administration of the number of prisoners who are willing to go into the hunger strike," explained Imam.

Imam said that prison authorities notified the Egyptian prosecution, who would then call for questioning the prisoners set to go on hunger strike.

"Until this moment, the prison administration did not take any further steps," says Imam. 

The statement signed by prisoners read: "We love life, and that's exactly what pushed us towards this step since we found no other path to it. We enter our hunger strike in defence of our dreams and future and the days of our lives drained by prison without any justification."

The hunger strike will begin with 10 people and more will follow in the upcoming weeks, according to the prisoners, until all 47 are on full hunger strike. 

More than 150 people were sentenced to between two and five years in prison 14 May over their participation in protests against an Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea maritime border demarcation deal last month.

Police preempted the 25 April protests, surrounding the Press Syndicate, where demonstrations were slated to take place, and firing teargas to disperse protestors before they could gather in large numbers.

The protests marked the second wave of demonstrations against the controversial deal after several thousand, including activists and politicians, rallied against the Egyptian-Saudi agreement on 15 April, in what some described as the largest protests since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was elected president in 2014.

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