Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah says he broke days-long water strike: Family

Amr Kandil , Monday 14 Nov 2022

A letter written by jailed Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah on Saturday and handed on Monday to his mother, Laila Soueif, says that he started to drink water Saturday, Khaled Ali, his lawyer, and his family said on Monday.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah
Jailed Egyptian British activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah. File/AFP


The letter was delivered to his mother Laila Soueif on Monday, his lawyer and family said.

Abdel-Fattah’s family earlier reported that the activist had stepped up his seven month hunger strike by refusing food and water altogether starting 6 November, the first day of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that has seen the participation of dozens of world leaders.

In the letter, the jailed activist said he is in a good health and is under medical supervision.

However, the lawyer said he was denied access to his client on Monday for the third time this month despite having permission from the prosecution, noting that prison authorities informed him that his permission had expired as it was dated for the previous day.

Egypt has been facing international demands to release the renowned activist.

Last Tuesday, Egypt's mission to the UN in Geneva rejected a statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk requesting Abdel-Fattah’s immediate release as his life “is in imminent danger.”

The mission said that the UN commissioner's statement deliberately undermines the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law as an indispensable cornerstone for the protection and promotion of human rights, and that describing a judicial decision as "unfair" was an unacceptable insult.

Over the past days, Abdel-Fattah’s family has expressed concerns over his health condition due to the hunger and water strike.

Hunger, water strike ‘questionable’

The Egyptian Public Prosecution, however, said on Thursday that medical examination of Abdel-Fattah has shown normal results, which indicate that reports of his hunger and water strike are “questionable.”

In a statement, the prosecution said Abdel-Fattah is in good health and his condition does not merit admittance to a medical facility.

The prosecution noted that it found vitamins, nutritional supplements and a saline solution for hydration among Abdel-Fattah’s possessions while inspecting his prison cell.

In December 2021, the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court handed a final five-year prison sentence against Abdel-Fattah for joining a terrorist group and spreading false news inside and outside the country.

In November of the same year, the Court of Cassation upheld a ruling placing Abdel-Fattah and others on the country’s terrorism list for a five-year period.

In June and July 2022, Abdel-Fattah made headlines when his family alleged that he was being mistreated in prison and that he had gone on hunger strike.

The Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Interior have denied these claims.

The interior ministry said in June that it had submitted to the prosecution footage recorded from inside Abdel-Fattah’s prison cell that it said disproves “the false claim of the imprisoned activist’s hunger strike.”

The ministry added that the footage also refutes the claim that no books have been allowed in his prison cell.

A month later, Egypt’s public prosecution said in a statement that Abdel-Fattah denied being mistreated in prison, adding that it investigated claims made by Abdel-Fattah's family that the activist had been subjected to torture and that they were denied visitations with him

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