'He got books!': Alaa Abdel-Fattah receives first reading material in two and a half years

'He got books!': Alaa Abdel-Fattah receives first reading material in two and a half years
Prison conditions for the writer and blogger remain inhumane, say the family - and he has still not received a visit from the UK consulate
2 min read
28 May, 2022
The activist remains on hunger strike in solidarity with his fellow prisoners [Getty]

Imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah has received books, pens and paper and comic magazines for the first time in two and a half years, his family has said.

"People of the world, Alaa got books for the first time in years!" his sister Mona Seif tweeted on Thursday.

"He received the books that his mother gave him, as well as a Mickey [Mouse] comic magazine, a family favourite and longstanding tradition of the Seifs," the family said in a statement released Friday.

However, the statement highlighted other causes for concern since their latest visit this week. 

"He still has not been allowed any time out of his cell for exercise, sun or fresh air," it read. 

The activist and writer has been on hunger strike since 2 April, protesting the conditions he and fellow prisoners are held in. 

Since the start of the protest, Egyptian authorities have moved Abdel-Fattah from the notorious Tora maximum-security prison complex to Wadi al-Natrun, where he has been allowed to sleep on a mattress for the first time in years. 

Abdel-Fattah remains on strike to protest the conditions of inmates at Tora prison.

However, he has switched to a "Gandhi-style" strike, consuming 100 calories a day, by adding skimmed milk and honey to a cup of tea, according to his family. 

The blogger and activist has spent much of the last decade behind bars. He was most recently imprisoned in 2019, after a crackdown that followed rare anti-government protests.

Abdel-Fattah, a dual UK-Egyptian national, has yet to receive a consular visit from the British. 

Local and international rights groups have accused Egypt's government under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of conducting the country's worst crackdown on human rights in decades, with some 60,000 of its critics currently behind bars.

Mona Seif told The New Arab on Friday that "there is no effort or political will from Sisiโ€™s regime to find solutions to the prisoner issue".