The sister of a UK national jailed in Egypt will begin a sit-in outside the Foreign Office in central London this week calling for the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to urgently meet the family to explain what the Government is doing to secure their relative’s release.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah, 40, a prominent human rights activist and blogger, is on hunger strike in Wadi al-Natrun prison after being unfairly convicted and jailed late last year.
On Wednesday (19 October), Abd el-Fattah will have been on hunger strike for 200 consecutive days and with fears mounting for his well-being his family have stepped up their campaign for his release.
Tomorrow (18 October, 5:00-6:30pm*), Abd el-Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif will stage a protest at the FCDO which will see her beginning a sit-in at the location until the Foreign Secretary agrees to meet her, or until the beginning of the COP27 climate change conference in Egypt, which is set to start on 6 November.
The Labour shadow foreign secretary David Lammy is also expected to attend tomorrow’s protest, and Amnesty International activists will be attending the sit-in in solidarity with the family.
Abd el-Fattah rose to prominence in Egypt during nationwide protests in 2011 against Hosni Mubarak’s repressive government and has been targeted by the authorities for most of the past decade. Among other things, the activist suffered torture soon after his detention in 2019. He is from a well-known Egyptian family which includes several human rights activists. His mother – Laila Soueif, a mathematics professor at Cairo University – was born in London and the family have significant ties to the UK.
WHO: Sanaa Seif, David Lammy
WHAT: protest and sit-in outside FCDO, with various banners calling for release of Alaa Abd el-Fattah
WHERE: FCDO building, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
WHEN: Tuesday 18 October (5:00-6:30pm), with sit-in to follow
*Note the time has been brought forward from 5:30 (which the photo above still shows) and it will now start at 5:00