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Egypt: Unjust Detention of Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah

Alaa Abdel Fattah, a well-known Egyptian-British activist, has been wrongfully imprisoned for 52 months for simply standing up for his human rights. On December 20, 2021, he faced conviction on unfounded charges, leading to a five-year prison sentence after an extremely unfair trial. Abdel Fattah has endured a decade of violations against his rights, including endless wrongful detention, an unjust trial process, torture, mistreatment, and intermittent restrictions on family visits. Despite his dual nationality, Egyptian officials have consistently refused him consular visits from UK representatives. The immediate and unconditional release of Alaa Abdel Fattah is imperative, as his imprisonment is directly connected to his peaceful human rights activities.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urging him to:

  • Release Alaa Abdel Fattah immediately and unconditionally, as he is detained solely for exercising his human rights.
  • Pending his release, he must have regular access to his lawyers, family and adequate healthcare and be held in conditions that meet international standards for the treatment of prisoners.
  • Ensure that he is granted a consular visit without further delay.

Write to:

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg

X (formerly Twitter): @AlsisiOfficial

Salutation: Your Excellency:

And copy:

His Excellency Ahmed Abdallah Ibrahim HAFEZ


Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

454 Laurier Avenue East

Ottawa, ON K1N 6R3

Tel: (613) 234-4931, 4935 Fax: (613) 234-9347/234-4398

Email: egyptembottawa@gmail.com

The Plight of Alaa Abdel Fattah

Alaa Abdel Fattah, a prominent activist known for his critique of the government and his participation in the 2011 uprising, has faced multiple arrests over the last decade. His most recent arrest was on September 29, 2019, by National Security Agency officers at a police station in Dokki, Greater Cairo, where he was compelled to spend 12 hours nightly as part of a probation condition after serving an earlier five-year sentence.

That same day, human rights lawyer Mohamed Baker was detained while representing Alaa Abdel Fattah. Both were placed in pre-trial detention on unfounded terrorism charges, part of a tactic known as “rotation” used by authorities to bypass legal limits on pre-trial detention and extend activists’ imprisonment indefinitely. Their trial, which began on October 28, 2021, was marred by procedural unfairness, including restricted communication with their lawyers and limited access to case files. On January 3, 2022, the president confirmed their sentences, which began from the date of ratification, not arrest.

Alaa Abdel Fattah endured harsh conditions in Tora Maximum Security 2 Prison, including confinement in a cramped, poorly ventilated cell without basic amenities. On May 12, 2022, he reported being assaulted by a prison official. Following public outcry, he was moved to Wadi al-Natroun Prison.

Calls for Release and International Response

Mohamed Baker was released on July 19, 2023, after a presidential pardon, amidst a broader release of political prisoners. However, many remain detained under unjust conditions. Alaa Abdel Fattah’s hunger strike during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November 2022 drew international attention, including a call for his release by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Despite a life-threatening episode during his hunger strike, Abdel Fattah remains committed to protesting his detention.

The UN Human Rights Committee has criticized Egypt’s record on arbitrary detention and misuse of counterterrorism laws against critics. Alaa Abdel Fattah’s family continues to seek justice, filing an urgent appeal with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on November 14, 2023.

Please take action as soon as possible until April 18, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.