Letter Signed by 100 MPs Urges UK Foreign Office to Address Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s Case in Egypt

Prominent pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who holds dual UK-Egyptian citizenship, has spent a significant portion of the past 11 years imprisoned in North Africa. Abd el-Fattah gained recognition as an advocate for democracy during the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations in Cairo, which ultimately led to the ousting of then-president Hosni Mubarak.

In December 2021, he was sentenced to five years in prison for sharing a Facebook post highlighting human rights abuses in Egyptian prisons in 2019. Last year, Abd el-Fattah went on a hunger strike to protest his unjust incarceration.

A letter signed by 100 Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers will be submitted to the UK Foreign Office, urging Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to take action. The letter calls for the UK to lead a joint statement on Egypt at the United Nations, as well as to revise the travel advice for British citizens visiting Egypt.

The signatories of the letter, including MPs and peers from various political parties, seek to ensure that UK travelers are informed, similar to US citizens, that their nationality does not shield them from potential arrests. They emphasize that individuals may face prolonged interrogations and extended periods of detention. The letter also highlights that the Egyptian authorities do not automatically notify foreign embassies, including the US Embassy, when a dual national is detained.

The letter aims to draw attention to the lack of progress in Abd el-Fattah’s case, despite previous high-level meetings between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The signatories stress the need for a joint statement on Egypt’s human rights situation at the UN Human Rights Council and an update to the UK’s travel advice for the country.

The letter, along with a demonstration, will be delivered to the Foreign Office on Monday. Its submission and accompanying protest reflect the ongoing efforts to advocate for Abd el-Fattah’s release and address human rights concerns in Egypt.

The letter says: “We are writing to express our concern at the lack of progress on the case of Alaa Abd el-Fattah, six months on from the prime minister’s meeting with President Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh.

“As a result, we are asking you to take the lead on a joint statement on Egypt at the UN Human Rights Council, and to update the UK’s travel advice for the country.”

The letter adds that “private lobbying of the Egyptian government, even at the highest levels, is yet to deliver results” when it comes to Mr Abd el-Fattah – hence the calls for new steps.

The letter will be delivered to the Foreign Office at lunchtime on Monday, with a demonstration also taking place.



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