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Alaa Abdel Fattah ends his hunger strike

Wednesday 23 November 2022, by Alaa Abdel Fattah

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Faced with the promise of finally seeing his family on Thursday 17 November and after 7 months on hunger strike, Alaa Abdel Fattah, an Egyptian activist imprisoned since 2019, a figure of the 2011 revolution, decided to start eating again on 12 November.

His family is very concerned about his physical and psychological condition. We reiterate: Egypt, which is ranked 135th (out of 139) in the World Justice Project’s rule of law index, must release Alaa and the 60,000 prisoners of conscience without delay.

"Alaa had a near-death experience, but decided to live on"

We are publishing excerpts from the letter written by Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family after visiting the prisoner on Thursday 17 November[[Letter published in full on the French newspaper site liberation.fr.]:

On Thursday 17 November, we saw Alaa for the first time since 24 October. We knew that from 1 November he would stop taking the 100 calories a day that had kept him alive for the past six months. When we saw him, he was exhausted, weak and vulnerable. He was very, very emaciated. We knew that on 6 November, the first day of the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, he would stop drinking water. After that date, we knew almost nothing about what happened to him inside the prison, except for two short notes from him received on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

We saw him in Wadi El Natrun prison, in a visitors’ box, separated by glass, with a poor sounding headset through which we were able to talk to him one after the other. Just as we knew nothing of what was happening inside the prison, Alaa had virtually no idea of what was going on outside. [...]

He was very thin, very frail, but was happy to see his family again. There were no negotiations with the authorities and no promises were made. Alaa had no idea what was going on in the outside world. We tried to tell him as much as possible about the global wave of solidarity that his situation generated. "Any form of political organisation that can solve our global crises must be born out of movements of personal solidarity. Like in my case," he said.

We hope that the extraordinary global attention Alaa has received and the tens of thousands of people who have expressed their solidarity will lead to his release. Alaa had a near-death experience, but decided to continue living. He will have no choice but to resume his hunger strike very soon if there is no progress in his situation.

This is what has happened over the last ten days. We were hoping for more news, that he would be released. But the campaign for Alaa’s release will continue, with the same strength. He needs our solidarity now more than ever.

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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