Egyptian blogger, coder, and free speech activist Alaa Abd El Fattah is on day 45 of a hunger strike in protest of his mistreatment in an Egyptian prison. Alaa was sentenced, without due process, late last year, after spending two years at a maximum-security prison in Tora, 12 miles south of Cairo, in pre-trial detention. He was granted British citizenship in April, and civil society groups—including Access Now, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty UK, English PEN, and EFF—are joining the call for the British government to assist him.
If you are a British citizen, FreeAlaa.net has an action you can take. Be aware that it’s an external and not EFF link:
In the UK? Take action now!
Fattah and his family have reported dangerous conditions in the prison in the past. Speaking out against injustice is not new to Alaa: he has repeatedly been targeted and jailed for his vocal advocacy. He has spent much of the past eight years imprisoned. Currently, Alaa has reported that he is beaten whenever asking for rights that he should be given under the law. He has been unable to access books or exercise and, despite the British embassy requesting consular access since December, he has been denied consular visits.
Fattah’s most recent sentence was handed down for "spreading false news undermining national security" by the court. The trial was rife with due process violations, according to reports: defense lawyers were denied access to case files and not given a chance to present arguments. He has submitted numerous reports about mistreatment in the prison, which the Egyptian authorities have either ignored or used against him. Now that he is a British citizen, Alaa and his family hope that the country's government will be permitted to meet with him.
Some government officials are listening: Zarah Sultana, a member of Parliament since 2019, has urged Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to secure consular access for Alaa and to ask the Egyptian Ambassador to demand his release. If you’re in the UK, you can urge your Member of Parliament to call for Alaa’s release.