Alaa Abdel Fattah's sister accused of 'espionage' and 'spreading false news' in Egypt

Alaa Abdel Fattah's sister accused of 'espionage' and 'spreading false news' in Egypt
A pro-government lawyer has filed a case against Sanaa Seif, the younger sister of jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, accusing her of 'spreading misinformation'.
3 min read
10 November, 2022
Sanaa Seif has been campaigning for the release of her brother Alaa Abdel Fattah [Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Sanaa Seif, the sister of jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been accused by an Egyptian pro-government lawyer of espionage and spreading misinformation. 

Lawyer Tareq Mahmoud filed a case accusing Seif of 'conspiring with foreign agencies hostile to the Egyptian state and turning to forces outside Egypt for support, and incitement against the Egyptian state and its institutions and deliberately spreading false news,' according to a press release from the FreeAlaa campaign. 

Sanaa Seif is Abdel Fattah’s younger sister, and has been relentlessly campaigning alongside her family for her brother’s release. 

The move comes days after Sanaa spoke to reporters and activists at the COP27 climate summit being held in Egypt where she campaigned for the release of her brother. She was interrupted and harassed during her presentation by Amr Darwish, a pro-government Egyptian MP who was later escorted out by security. 

"Anybody can submit a complaint to the General Prosecutor’s office and it’s up to him to decide whether or not to proceed with it", Mona Seif, Sanaa and Alaa Abdel Fattah's sister said. She expressed concerns that the Egyptian state was preparing a case against Sanaa. 

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"But with our experience in our family it is usually the case that complaints that we submit about crimes committed against us are ignored, while complaints that are filed against us by random people we don’t know, is usually the Egyptian state’s way of starting a new case against one of us. So there’s a very strong possibility that this is what they’re preparing next for Sanaa."

Mona Seif added that her sister was imprisoned for a year and a half in the past and was only released last December. 

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The news comes as Alaa Abdel Fattah continues to languish in jail. He has been on hunger strike in Egypt for 219 days to protest the conditions of his detention. He began a water strike in jail on Sunday, to coincide with the first day of the COP27 climate summit.

Egyptian authorities have consistently prevented members of his family or his lawyers from visiting him in prison, amid grave fears about his health. Earlier today, his family was informed that he had "undergone a medical intervention with the knowledge of a judicial authority," according to the FreeAlaa campaign. 

The authorities did not allow Abdel Fattah's lawyer to see him today despite having a permit, the campaign told The New Arab.