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Activist warns mother death out of hunger strike inside Egypt jail

Activist warns mother death out of hunger strike inside Egypt jail

Alaa Abd El-Fattah. (BBC photo)

Cairo: Activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, imprisoned by the Egyptian state, warned his mother that he might die soon inside Wadi al-Natrun prison. The British-Egyptian activist, a prominent face in the Egyptian uprisal of 2011, had been in jail for most of the last decade. He was convicted on terrorism charges based on his social media post on torture, The Guardian reported.

Fattah has been on a hunger strike for the last 164 days, raising a list of demands, including the release of many who were detained by state security forces and thousands of others held in pre-trail detention without any charges. Currently, he is consuming only 100 calories a day, but he warned that he would step further, making only water and salt his daily meal.

His hunger strike is going on while it is the run-up to the Cop27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

The Guardian quotes Fattah's words to his mother, "I don't want to upset you, but I don't believe there's any chance of individual salvation."

A Human Rights Watch (HRM) report has suggested that on the Cop27, the Egypt administration has curbed anything other than state-sanctioned participation. This is the latest in the decade-long crackdown on civil society under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The report cites 13 Egyptian environmentalists, including some who fled the country fearing safety, saying that the state has imposed severe restrictions and bias on environmental civil society.

There was a sharp decline of space for the independent environment and climate work after Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's ascension as president. The activist faced harassment, intimidation, fund cuts, travel difficulties, fears of security forces, etc., the activists related. The only environmental works aligned with the government's priorities, such as climate financing or recycling, were promoted, while those critical of the government, like water scarcity or industrial pollution, were demoted.

His sister said she had visited him, and his state was highly miserable. The authorities didn't even allow her to hug him, she said. They are not even allowing his right to consular access.

After he received British citizenship, the Egyptian government came harder on him, not allowing British officials to check his well-being. However, some of his supporters allege that Britain is not leveraging their role as Cop26 president and their cooperation with Egypt with political and financial partnerships to free the activist. Former British prime minister Boris Johnson, as well as then foreign secretary Liz Truss, had pledged for his release earlier.

The UK and Egypt governments are going to do huge business deals. Egypt is focussing on Cop27, an opportunity to promote environment-friendly investments. British International Investment has promised £87m investments in Egypt in addition to the £660m worth of projects it is funding at the moment.

The administration has allowed "limited protests held in areas designated by the government" at Cop27. It has limited civil society attendance at the event to "those who do not criticise the government," The Guardian reported.

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TAGS:BritainEgyptenvironmentalistsCop27Sharm El SheikhAbdel Fatah al-Sisi
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