Sister of jailed British-Egyptian activist ‘pinning hopes’ on PM’s efforts

Sister of jailed British-Egyptian activist ‘pinning hopes’ on PM’s efforts

T

he sister of a jailed British-Egyptian pro-democracy activist said she believes her brother might be on the following flight to London if Rishi Sunak makes his case an “urgent political priority”.

Sanaa Seif has travelled to Sharm El-Sheikh the place the Cop27 summit is taking place, as she works to spotlight the plight of her brother Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who’s on starvation strike.

The detained author has spent most of the previous decade behind bars in Egypt and last December was sentenced to 5 years in jail after being accused of spreading false news.

Ms Seif said her family is “pinning our hopes” on the Prime Minister’s efforts to help.

I actually imagine that if he (Rishi Sunak) makes this an pressing political precedence, my brother will be on the following flight to London

Mr Sunak, who’s in Egypt for the most important local weather summit, has written to Mr Abd El-Fattah’s family saying he was “totally committed” to resolving the case, which he described as “a priority for the British Government both as a human rights defender and as a British national”.

After arriving within the Red Sea resort on Monday, a statement released from Ms Seif by way of the Freedom For Alaa campaign said: “Prime Minister Sunak sent me a powerful letter on the weekend.

“I think he intends to do everything he can to save Alaa, we’re pinning our hopes on him.

“I really believe that if he makes this an urgent political priority, my brother will be on the next flight to London.”

Mr Abd El-Fattah, a father, has been on partial starvation strike in jail, consuming solely 100 day by day energy for the previous 200 days.

On November 1 he started a full starvation strike, and on Sunday he stopped consuming water in an escalation of his protest to coincide with the summit at which quite a few world leaders are current.

His switch to a water strike made the Government realise the “urgency” of the case, Ms Seif said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme, she instructed “hecticness” in UK politics had hindered work on her brother’s case.

She said: “I strongly feel that the hecticness that was happening in the Government and the change of government was … in a sense, it was a genuine excuse but also it made, like, the civil servants and the diplomats working, and the Foreign Office, have an excuse. And so they weren’t really working hard.

“I felt all of a sudden when Alaa stopped water that we were suddenly getting these calls, phone calls, we were getting the letter from the Prime Minister. So, it feels like they realised the urgency all of a sudden. We’ve been warning them that this is coming.”

Friend and actor Khalid Abdalla has said the chance Mr Abd El-Fattah might die whereas the Cop27 summit takes place is “a terrifying prospect”.

The Crown star likened Mr Abd El-Fattah to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, saying he represents the “progressive fight in Egypt”.

Abdalla, who performs Dodi Fayed in hit Netflix present, said he wished to be on the “right side of history” in talking up for his pal.

Right now we’re going through the chance of his loss of life within the coming days before Cop27 ends. It’s a terrifying prospect

Mr Abdalla said the rationale for his pal’s detention is “completely absurd”.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “The actual reason technically for him being in prison is for sharing a Facebook post, it’s completely absurd. A Facebook post about the torture of a fellow prisoner.”

He said the author and his family symbolize the “progressive fight for democracy, and social justice and a better world”.

He said it’s essential that Mr Abd El-Fattah is freed.

He told the programme: “Right now we’re facing the possibility of his death in the coming days before Cop27 ends. It’s a terrifying prospect.”

He added: “All 120 world leaders are descending on Sharm El-Sheikh right now. If all of them can’t result in Alaa being released from prison, then what hope have we got of saving the climate?”

On his help for Mr Abd El-Fattah, the actor said: “You’ve got to be on the right side of history. If you knew that there was an Emmeline Pankhurst in prison right now and you knew that there was a chance for her to get out, what would you be doing?”

In his letter to Mr Abd El-Fattah’s family, Mr Sunak described Cop27 as “another opportunity to raise your brother’s case with the Egyptian leadership” and said Middle East minister Lord Ahmad would replace the family on negotiations after the summit – which finishes on November 18.

The Foreign Office has said ministers are “deeply concerned” concerning the incarceration of Mr Abd El-Fattah and they’re “working hard” to safe his launch.

Source:standard.co.uk

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