Egypt's NCHR appeals to interior ministry to transfer activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah to Wadi Al-Natroun correctional centre

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 May 2022

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has appealed to the Ministry of Interior to transfer imprisoned activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah to Wadi Al-Natroun Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre for its "advanced medical capabilities," a statement by the council said on Tuesday.

 Alaa Abdel-Fattah
file photo, Egypt s leading pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah speaks during a conference held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. AP


Abdel-Fattah, a 40-year-old activist and well-known blogger, has been on hunger strike since early April in the high-security Tora prison, according to his family and rights activists.

He has been in jail since 2019 and is now serving a five-year sentence in 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 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 case 1781/2019.

The NCHR’s statement comes a day after local media cited a security source denying that Abdel-Fattah is on a hunger strike.

However, the NCHR said in a statement Saturday that it received a petition signed by 500 Egyptian women urging his admission to the prison's hospital in order to be placed under medical observation, with the president of the NCHR Moushira Khattab calling on Abdel-Fattah to end his hunger strike.

In Tuesday’s statement, Khattab urged transferring Abdel-Fattah to the newly established correction centre in Wadi El-Natroun in northern Egypt for the "advanced medical capabilities and special care provided by its affiliated medical centre."

The new centre is one of the largest rehabilitation and reformation centres worldwide.

The interior ministry has said the centre “is managed based on international standards of human rights and modern technology and houses a central hospital that is equipped with the latest technologies has well-trained medical staff and proficient doctors.”

The NCHR chair expressed her hope on Saturday 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, expanding the scope of its work to include imprisoned male and female debtors.

Following its activation, hundreds of prisoners have been granted presidential pardons.

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