The deteriorating health of imprisoned Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah will dominate the upcoming COP27 summit if Egyptian authorities do not intervene, Amnesty International has warned.
Fears for the life of writer Abd El-Fattah have risen, who escalated a hunger strike of more than 200 days on Sunday by refusing to drink water.
“Let’s be very clear, we’re running out of time. So if the authorities don’t want to end up with a death they should and could have prevented, they must act now; 24, 48 hours, 72 hours at most, that’s how long they have to save a life,” Amnesty International secretary-general Agnes Callamard said at a news conference in Giza, Egypt, on Sunday.
“If they don’t, that death will abide by COP27. It will be in every discussion, every discussion will be there Alaa,” Callamard added.
Abd El-Fattah, who became a leading voice in the country’s 2011 uprising, has been jailed for nine years. In 2019, he was sentenced to an additional five years in prison for allegedly spreading false news after sharing a Facebook post highlighting human rights abuses in Egyptian prisons.
Callamard said the “extremely serious human rights situation” in Egypt is “at the core” of the agenda of the COP27 summit, which kicked off on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
“In other words, yes, it’s about climate justice, but you can’t provide climate justice anywhere in the world, including Egypt, if you don’t have human rights protection,” Callamard told journalists.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday promised to raise Abd El-Fattah’s case with the Egyptian government when he attends the summit next week.
In a letter to the sister of Abd El-FattahSanaa Seif, Sunak expressed concern about the activist’s “deteriorating health”, adding that his case “remains a priority for the British government”.
According to Sunak, British “ministers and officials continue to press for urgent consular access to Alaa and call for his release at the highest level of the Egyptian government.”
In a letter to Sunak and shared with CNN, Seif said, “It is my sincere belief that if Alaa is not released within the next few days, he will die in person, possibly while you are in Egypt.”
Abd El-Fattah’s mother was born in London in 1956 and acquired British citizenship in 2021, according to the Free Alaa campaign website. Since then, it has been his right to a consular visit by representatives of the British embassy, a right so far denied by Egypt, Free Alaa said.
According to the Free Alaa campaign, Abd El-Fattah has been on a hunger strike since April 2.