The UN climate change summit COP27, concluded last week in Egypt, was turned into a human rights summit as international pressure builds on the Egyptian regime to release political prisoners arbitrary held in Egyptian jails.
As the COP27 kicked off in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdelfattah stopped drinking water after a 200-day hunger strike failed to secure his release.
His sister, Mona Seif, attended the summit along with the British delegation to shed light her brother’s case.
“Unless Rishi Sunak comes back from Cop27 with my brother alive, Alaa won’t make it out of Egypt except in a coffin,” she said ahead of the COP27.
In a letter to Alaa’s sisters, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘totally committed’ to ‘resolving Alaa’s case’ and that he is a ‘priority’
for the British government.
French President Emmanuel Macron also raised the young activist’s case to Egypt’s President Sisi.
His youngest sister Sanaa held a press conference along with Amnesty’s secretary general Agnes Callamard.
The press conference was widely covered by Western media, exposing the true face of the Egyptian regime before an international stage.
The German government human rights Commissioner Louise Amtsberg called in a statement for Abdel Fattah and his lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer’s immediate release.
The statement also warned of “a lack of civil society participation due to fear of repression.” “This also means a commitment to protect human rights in the first place, but the human rights situation in Egypt falls short of what is needed.”
“It is unacceptable that people who want to express their opinion freely and who defend this right are punished with long imprisonment, sometimes in inhumane conditions,” the government commissioner said.
Several international campaigns were launched ahead of the climate conference to draw attention to the fate of more than 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt.
Ahead of this year’s COP27 summit, a number of Nobel Prize winners
are demanding Cairo free its dissidents, including prominent jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah.
The 15 Nobel laureates have urged world leaders ‘to use every opportunity’ during the conference ‘to bring the voices of the unjustly imprisoned into the room’.
“We… write to urge you to devote part of your agenda to the many thousands of political prisoners held in Egypt’s prisons – most urgently, the Egyptian-British writer and philosopher, Alaa Abd el-Fattah, now six months into a hunger strike and at risk of death.” the letter reads.
At least 60,000 political prisoners are estimated to have been jailed
since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.
Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a popular blogger, software developer and pro-democracy activist was jailed since 2011 on terrorism charges for sharing a social media post about torture in a detention center.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah has spent 8 of the past 10 years in jail for calling for peaceful assembly and free speech.