500 Egyptian women urge admitting jailed hunger-striker Alaa Abdel-Fattah to hospital: NCHR

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 May 2022

Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said in a statement that it has received a petition signed by 500 Egyptian women urging the admission of jailed "prisoner of consience" and hunger-striker Alaa Abdel-Fattah to the prison's hospital in order to be placed under medical observation.

Alaa Abdel Fattah
Alaa Abdel Fattah


The petitioners also said that Abdel-Fattah, who has been on hunger strike for more than 40 days in the high-security Tora prison, would also enjoy the right to reading material and excersise time in the prison's hospital.

Abdel-Fattah, 40, a well-known blogger and activist who has been in jail since 2019, is now serving a five-year sentence in the case 1228/2021 over joining a terrorist group and spreading false news inside and outside the country, according to a court ruling issued last year.

In early April, he began a hunger strike to protest prison conditions.

NCHR President Moushira Khattab said that "she, as a proud Egyptian woman and mother, and as the head of the independent national institution that is tasked with ensuring the respect and support of human rights for every citizen without any discrimination or exclusion, respects the rulings of the Egyptian judiciary."

Khattab stressed that Abdel-Fattah’s presence behind bars does not deprive him from his rights that are guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution and laws as well as the country's international human rights commitments.

She added that she is in constant contact with Abdel-Fattah’s family and that she had submitted a request to visit him in prison.

The NCHR chief said she has received assurances from high-level officials in charge of the conditions at places of detention that "Abdel-Fattah enjoys his rights as a prisoner to the greatest possible extent."

Khattab stressed she "shares Egyptian mothers' concerns over the health of a young man who has been on hunger strike for 43 days, a matter that would pose an imminent danger to his health."

Meanwhile, the NCHR chief called on Abdel-Fattah to end his hunger strike, voicing her hope that "Abdel-Fattah and other prisoners of conscience can benefit from the outcomes of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s recent call for a national dialogue without exception or exclusion."

In late April, President El-Sisi assigned the National Youth Conference, which is organised by the National Training Academy (NTA), to conduct a national political dialogue on the current priorities of national action and to present its outcomes to him.

The president also announced the re-activation of the Presidential Pardon Committee, which was initially formed in October 2016, to review the cases of those imprisoned on non-terror related political offences for potential pardons.

Khattab affirmed in the statement that Egypt is on the verge of a new era of respecting and enforcing human rights in light of the National Strategy for Human Rights launched by El-Sisi in September 2021 and his call for a national dialogue.

In November, Egypt’s Court of Cassation upheld a ruling placing Abdel-Fattah and 26 others on the country’s terrorism list for a five-year period in the case 1781/2019.

The NCHR was reconstituted in December of last year.

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