UK MPs ask for jailed Egyptian dissident Alaa Abdel-Fattah's release amid FM London visit

UK MPs ask for jailed Egyptian dissident Alaa Abdel-Fattah's release amid FM London visit
34 British MPs and Lords are making demands for hunger-striking Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah's release in a letter addressed to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry who is expected to meet Foreign Secretary Liz Truss during his visit to the UK.
3 min read
04 July, 2022
Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a prominent figure in Egypt's revolution and pro-democracy protests, is serving a five-year jail sentence [Getty]

Several British MPs and Lords have signed a letter to the Egyptian embassy expressing their opposition to the detention of British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who is currently on hunger strike.

The letter, co-signed by 34 MPs and Lords, comes as the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry visited Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon in London on Monday, with Abdel-Fattah’s situation on the agenda.

Shoukry is also due to meet with UK foreign secretary Liz Truss, but the date and time for the meeting are yet to be confirmed.

The letter, which was headed by the Labour Party’s Marsha de Cordova, expressed to Shoukry that they hope that the 40-year-old activist's release will "be secured soon", and that he will be "allowed to travel to the United Kingdom".

"After six months of British consular access being denied by Egyptian authorities, I hope the Foreign Secretary is clear with the Egyptian Foreign Minister that Alaa needs to be released and brought home safe to his family," de Cordova said.

Abdel-Fattah, a prominent figure of the Egyptian revolution, has been imprisoned on charges of "broadcasting false news" since December last year. He is due to serve a five-year sentence and has been detained and jailed multiple times prior.

Monday also marks his 94th day on hunger strike.

Labour MP David Lammy, who represents Abdel-Fattah’s sister's constituency of Tottenham, also wrote an individual letter urging Truss’ intervention due to the activists’ "grave situation". He also asked the foreign secretary to meet with Abdel-Fattah’s sister Mona Seif, who he believes deserves to "hear from Truss" directly with respect to "the steps taken to secure his release".

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Mona has also embarked on a hunger strike in a bid to bring attention to her brother’s situation.

The letter follows Truss’ comments confirming that she is "working very hard to secure Abdel-Fattah’s release" and that his case will be "brought up" during her upcoming talks with Shoukry. However, Abdel-Fattah's sister Sanaa Seif has expressed disappointment and pain at the foreign secretary's "lack of action" on the matter.

A protest organised by Amnesty International UK is expected to take place outside the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office later on Monday to call on Liz Truss to take maximum action for Abdel Fattah’s release from prison and bring him to the UK.