Political prisoner Alaa Abd el-Fattah, of Egyptian and British nationality, on hunger strike for seven months in a prison in the Cairo region, wrote a letter to his family in which he says he is “fine” and has resumed drinking water in the Saturday, said lawyer Khaled Ali.
The prison administration handed the letter to Laila Sueif, the mother of the pro-democracy blogger. Sanaa Seif, the prisoner’s sister, called the text “proof of life”.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah, symbol of the Arab Spring and opponent of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is in the spotlight in Egypt, which hosts COP27 (World Climate Summit) and occupies the 135th position in the world ranking. of 140 Rule of Law countries, prepared by the World Justice Project.
For seven months, the activist has eaten just 100 calories a day. On November 6, at the start of the COP, he decided to stop eating and drinking. Since then, the family demanded proof of life.
Lawyer Khaled Ali appeared three times at Wadi Natroun prison, 100 km from the Egyptian capital, to try to find the activist. On two occasions he failed and returned for another attempt on Monday (14).
This time, the blogger’s mother accompanied him and received a letter “dated November 12 in which he says he is fine, under medical surveillance and that he has resumed drinking” on Saturday (11), the lawyer wrote on Facebook.
His sister, Sanaa Seif, confirmed the information on Twitter: “Alaa is alive.”
“It’s clearly your handwriting, it’s proof of life, finally. Why did you keep it for two days [a carta] without turning us in?” he asked. “Alaa says he will explain further when possible,” he added.
Icon of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, which ousted Hosni Mubarak from power, Alaa Abd el-Fattah, nearing his 41st birthday, was arrested in late 2019. He was sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of “spreading false information”. .
UN officials responsible for security at the annual climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh said on Monday that they were investigating allegations by some participants that they were spied on by Egyptian police.
Several COP27 participants, including activists, experts and NGOs, said they felt under “surveillance” during the summit, which began on November 6 in the Egyptian city on the shores of the Red Sea.
The UN Security Department, which is working with the Egyptian police at this summit, said on Monday that it had been informed of “accusations” of violations of the code of conduct and that it was “investigating these allegations”.
The accusations came after the German delegation held an event with Sanaa Seif.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s sister was reprimanded at two press conferences by government officials, who told her her brother was a “criminal” and not a “political prisoner”.
Egypt tried to improve its image by hosting the climate change conference, but was criticized during the event for its human rights policy.
A German diplomatic source said a complaint was made to Egypt because the delegation “felt it was being watched”.
Liane Schalatek of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung said she felt “observed” and “clearly more uncomfortable than at any previous COP”.
Schalatek, a climate finance expert who has attended these UN meetings since 2008, said there were cameras in the meeting rooms in Sharm el-Sheikh that were aimed at the faces of the participants.
“It’s as unnecessary as it is unusual for internal coordination meetings,” he said. “And the possibility that everything is being recorded cannot be ruled out.”
Human Rights Watch had previously condemned Egypt’s “total surveillance” policy, which included installing cameras in hundreds of taxis in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The New York-based group also warned that the COP27 smartphone app raises suspicions of “surveillance” as it requires access to the device’s camera, microphone and geolocation.