More than 1,000 celebrities have called on Britain’s Foreign Secretary to intervene at the highest level to secure the release of British-Egyptian writer Alaa Abdelfattah on the 73rd day of his hunger strike.
“We call on you to use all your diplomatic power to leverage the importance of your strategic relationship with Egypt to secure [Alaa’s] immediate release,” reads the letter, which was launched by Alaa’s sister Sanaa Seif and her friend Khalid Abdalla at a press conference in parliament yesterday.
“As public intellectuals, artists and human rights defenders, we are appalled at the inhuman treatment of Alaa, whom we consider a peer, while he continues to be arbitrarily detained in an Egyptian prison.
Hollywood stars Dame Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Carey Mulligan are among the signatories of the letter to Liz Truss and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Alaa was arrested in 2019 and has been on a hunger strike since the first day of Ramadan in an attempt to secure the consular visit he is entitled to as a British citizen.
The renowned activist is one of 60,000 political prisoners held in Egyptian prisons which are notorious for their horrific conditions, including systematic torture and denial of medical treatment, sometimes leading to death.
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During the press conference, Seif said, “Today marks the 74th day of the Alaa hunger strike, my brother is slowly dying in his jail cell, but he wants to live.
“He misses his life, he misses his job, he misses his son and so do we.”
“We are deeply intrigued by the way we have been treated by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Why hasn’t she met with us? Why has she still not made an official statement about Alaa I can tell you it hurts.”
“Alaa is slowly dying and I hope we can save him, I know we have a window of opportunity to save him.”
“The way this could be resolved is a high-level call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but also followed by firm negotiations from the Foreign Secretary.”
The press conference follows widespread coverage of Alaa’s plight in the British media and calls for action from several politicians, including Labor MP Zarah Sultana, who sent a letter to Liz Truss lamenting the close ties of the British government with the Sisi regime.
In December 2020, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson called on Egyptian authorities to release three senior Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights officials who had been jailed the previous month after meeting with European ambassadors to discuss the rights situation. of man in Egypt.
The staff members were released soon after, leading several Egyptians to conclude that the message of solidarity contributed to their release.