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Alaa Abd el-Fattah: Prominent Egyptian activist marks 100 days of hunger strike

Supporters of Alaa Abd el-Fattah are calling on Washington to help secure his release
Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah gives an interview at his home in Cairo on 17 May 2019 (AFP/File photo)

Supporters of prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who on 10 July will mark 100 days on a hunger strike, are calling on Washington to help secure his release, a statement said.

A major figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Abd el-Fattah was sentenced in December to five years in prison after he was convicted along with two others of "broadcasting false news".

Sunday will mark 100 days of his hunger strike, a statement from his support committee said. He has been only taking "100 calories a day in the form of a spoon of honey and a drop of milk in tea," Saturday's statement said.

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One of his sisters, Sanaa Seif, will speak about his case in a media briefing in Washington on 11 July ahead of a Middle East tour later in the week by US President Joe Biden, the statement added.

Arab leaders including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi are expected to be present in Saudi Arabia when Biden visits the kingdom as part of his tour.

Another sister, Mona Seif, continues to draw attention to the plight of what rights groups say are about 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. She has been collecting letters of support from European lawmakers for months.

Mona Seif announced this week that she was suspending her own hunger strike, which she had begun in solidarity with her brother.

"Alaa is currently serving a five-year sentence for sharing a Facebook post about prison conditions in Egypt," the support committee statement said. "He is on hunger strike demanding his right to consular access from the British embassy."

Abd el-Fattah gained UK citizenship in April from inside prison, through his British-born mother, Laila Soueif. 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in June that Britain was "working very hard to secure his release". The British government is now in disarray after Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister this week.

Egypt's interior ministry said last month that it had footage that "disproves" reports of his hunger strike. 

Egypt is set to host the COP27 climate summit in November, a role Human Rights Watch has said "rewards" Sisi's "repressive rule".

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