Alaa Abd El-Fattah (Photo: masry25.blogspot.com)
Prospective presidential candidate Bothaina Kamel announced via Twitter that she will begin a hunger strike on Friday in solidarity with Alaa Abd El-Fattah, the prominent blogger being held in Tora prison pending investigations by the military prosecution.
She will be joining Abd El-Fattah’s mother, Professor Laila Soueif, who has been on hunger strike since Sunday 6 November to demand the release of her son and the end of military trials of civilians.
Publisher Mohamed Hashem has already joined Soueif 's hunger strike, while a number of writers and political figures have said they would join if the young blogger was not released.
Egypt's military prosecution on Sunday ordered the renewal of Abd El-Fattah's detention for another 15 days pending investigation into charges of inciting violence and assaulting military personnel during the Maspero clashes on 9 October.
The Egyptian blogger, who was active in the No to Military Trials campaign, has refused to answer questions by the military prosecution. His detention and principled position have triggered a solidarity campaign demanding his release in Egypt and abroad.
After being returned to jail, Abd El-Fattah sent a message to his supporters asking them to celebrate his thirtieth birthday on 18 November by joining the planned million man march in Tahrir Square.
"I really got used to spending the feast and my birthday away from my family," he wrote in the message published on his blog, "but the birth of my first son, how will I miss this? How will I bear being separated from Manal [his wife] at this moment? How will I tolerate waiting for news about them to learn if they are OK? How will I put up with not seeing my son’s face or his mother's face when she first sees him? How will I look at him when I am released knowing that I promised he would be born a free person?"
Abd El-Fattah's message generated sympathy from fellow bloggers and internet activists, many of whom are considering joining the hunger strike on Friday.
Both Abd El-Fattah's sister Mona Seif, founder of the No to Military Trials campaign, and his aunt, renowned novelist Ahdaf Soueif, will appear on Yosry Fouda's TV show Akher Kalam (Last Word) on Monday night. The episode is expected to attract more attention to Alaa's plight and that of military trials of civilians.