Abd el-Fattah will remain in prison as long as Sisi is in power Prison news

Abd el-Fattah will remain in prison as long as Sisi is in power Prison news

Abd el-Fattah will remain in prison as long as Sisi is in power Prison news

Sister of a prominent British Egyptian activist Ala Abd el-Fatah She said she fears her brother could be in prison for the rest of his life.

Speaking to Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast on Wednesday, Mona Seif said her family believes President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi intends to keep her brother behind bars as long as he remains in office.

“We realized that as long as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is in power, he has absolutely no intention of keeping Alan out of prison, and that when the case is over, they will just. [make] file a new case and new charges and make sure he spends the rest of his life in prison,” he said.

Abd el-Fattah, a blogger and software developer, is one of the most prominent voices to emerge from the January 25, 2011 uprising, when millions of Egyptians protested the rule of then-President Hosni Mubarak.

He has been incarcerated for most of the past decade, and in April began a partial hunger strike to protest his arrest and conviction.

On November 6, ahead of the COP27 UN climate summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Abd el Fattah intensified his hunger strike and stopped drinking water.

Her younger sister, Sana, who has also been imprisoned several times in Egypt, is attending the summit to draw more attention to her cause. He flew from London, where he had been protesting outside the Foreign Office for several days, demanding British officials act quickly to secure Abd el Fattah’s release.

Abd el-Fattah will remain in prison as long as Sisi is in power Prison news
Sana Seif speaks to reporters after a press conference for the Global Campaign for Climate Justice on the sidelines of the COP27 conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 8, 2022. [Joseph Eid/AFP]

Abd el-Fattah received his British citizenship late last year through family ties to Britain, after his family applied on his behalf. According to Mona, the hope was that the British government could help her.

“He feels that for the first time in years there is an opportunity for him [get] out, a chance for him to change the Egyptian regime’s plan for him, which is to stay in prison until he dies,” Mona said.

“And he’s trying everything he’s got, including putting his life on the line, to take this chance and reunite with us as a family and actually have a future away from this madness.”

In the past, public actions by the British government amounted to repeated calls for a consular visit, while relations between London and Cairo continued as normal.

But last week British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he wanted to use the COP27 climate summit in Egypt this month to discuss the Abd el-Fattah case, which Mona said represented a change in the UK government’s behaviour.

“We first had a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary James Cleverley,” he said. Then came the announcement of Syunak, who announced that he would make the case a priority.

Mona described Sunak as her brother’s last chance, but said her family was “worried that they’re taking this seriously [is] it comes a little too late because, well, the Egyptians will try to stall as much as possible, and I really believe they want Alaa dead.”

Egypt’s foreign minister and COP27 president Sameh Shoukry told reporters at the summit on Monday that Abd el-Fattah “is receiving all the necessary care in prison.”

Shukri also questioned the hunger strike and said that the Egyptian government has not yet recognized the activist’s British citizenship.

The family has denied the claims and made repeated calls to prove his life after Abd el-Fattah’s weekly letter to his mother never arrived as expected.

Mona last saw her brother in September and was “horrified” at how much weight he had lost.

“All I could think of was if [only] people could see what he looked like,” he said. “They would understand the gravity of the situation and I think that’s what they’re there for [Egyptian authorities] They won’t allow a consular visit and they won’t allow any pictures or footage of what he looks like now.”

“Cruelty and Oppression”

Abd el-Fattah was among tens of thousands of Egyptians jailed after El-Sisi came to power after ousting former president Mohamed Morsi. He was arrested in November 2013 for protesting without a permit.

After completing his five-year sentence, he was released in March 2019, but had to report to the police station every evening, where he stayed from 6pm to 6am. In the remaining 12 hours, Abd el-Fattah spent time with his family, reconnecting with his non-verbal and autistic son, who is 11 years old.

But in September of that year, he was arrested again and kept in pre-trial detention. He was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2021 for “broadcasting fake news” for reposting a Facebook post about the death of a political prisoner.

Ala was sent to a maximum-security prison, where his family and rights groups such as Amnesty International say he was tortured.

Mona said it was difficult for outsiders to understand the “level of brutality and oppression” of Sisi’s government. Human rights organizations report that more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience have been imprisoned under the current president.

Arrests are not limited to writers, journalists, political activists and human rights defenders. Thousands of people have been randomly arrested under El-Sisi, Mona explained.

“They want to set an example because they are constantly afraid that people will repeat their attempt to change the situation and overthrow the regime. [just like in] back in 2011,” he said.

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