Wednesday, November 16 at 19:30 GMT:
As Egypt hosts COP27 climate talks, human rights activists are focusing on the fate of British-Egyptian democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days. Alaa’s and the thousands of other prisoners in Egypt cannot be ignored as world leaders and conference delegates discuss climate justice in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Abd el-Fattah, a programmer and blogger who rose to prominence in the Arab Spring of 2011, went on hunger strike in April to protest his arrest.
On the COP27 side, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are said to have raised the case of the activist in talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Abd el-Fattah has been in prison for the past ten years, on charges of spreading false news and organizing illegal demonstrations. In December 2021, he was sentenced to five years in prison for rewriting a Facebook page about human rights abuses in prison.
Since Egypt’s military seized power in 2013 and ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, human rights groups say the political struggle against the government has intensified. Rights groups believe that 60,000 political prisoners have been held since 2013, although El-Sisi denies their existence. In the run-up to COP27, Amnesty International documented the arrest of 1,540 people for free speech.
In this episode of The Stream, we will look at the challenges of Abd el-Fattah and the solidarity movement that has formed around the Egyptian political prisoners at COP27.
On this episode of The Stream, we talk to:
Mona Seif, @Monasosh
Human rights activist and sister of Alaa Abd el-Fattah
Hussein Baoumi, @husseinmagdy16
Egypt and Libya researcher, Amnesty International