7 Egyptian parties join hunger strike Saturday for release of 'political prisoners'

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Sep 2014

Seven liberal and leftist parties will join an ongoing hunger strike on Saturday against the controversial Protest Law

Alaa Abd El-Fattah
Alaa Abdel-Fattah is one of those on hunger strike against the Protest Law; his mother Laila Sueif is one of the hunger strikers outside jail. Both seen here at a wake for father and husband lawyer Ahmed Seif in early September (Photo: AP)

Several Egyptian political parties have said they will temporarily join an ongoing hunger strike by activists both inside and outside prison which demands the release of those detained in what they say is a bid to curtail freedoms won during the 2011 revolution.

Seven parties will go on a "symbolic" hunger strike on Saturday at their offices nationwide to reiterate their "just demands" after authorities failed to heed them over the past months, according to a Thursday statement by participating party the Popular Current.

The move is aimed to drum up support for the ongoing hunger strike by 60 prisoners and 70 supporters and activists who are not in jail, according to the Freedom for the Brave campaign.

According to the statement, the escalation in action is to demand the release of detainees in cases involving freedom of opinion and in breaches of a widely criticised 2013 law that bans spontaneous protests. The parties are also demanding the protest law be amended.

Participating parties listed in the statement include the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egypt Freedom Party and the Bread and Freedom Party, as well as the Popular Current, founded by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

The law, issued late last year, bans protest without prior police authorisation and gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than ten people. Dozens of people, including several prominent activists, have been charged and convicted under its provisions.

Among the hunger-striking prisoners are Alaa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Douma, both well-known youth activists associated with the 2011 revolution, as well as two supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Mohamed Sultan--whose health has been failing after over 200 days on hunger strike--and Ibrahim El-Yamani, on strike for over 4 months.

In June, authorities released a journalist who works for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arabic channel on medical grounds after he had been on hunger strike for over four months to protest his detention without charge.

In a separate statement released on Thursday, the Constitution Party, founded by Mohamed ElBaradei, said it began a hunger strike at its headquarters in solidarity with the detainees, among whom are nine of the party's members, detained on charges of violating the protest law.

Freedom for the Brave, a campaign that calls for the release of political prisoners, is calling for two days of international solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners on 13-14 September.

Short link: