Immediate release of Alaa Abdel Fattah demanded by over 40 prominent public figures from 14 countries, including intellectuals, writers, filmmakers, and academics

In Opinion Articles by CIHRS

Alaa Abdel-Fattah is a British-Egyptian writer, human rights defender and software developer. He was one of the leading voices and campaigners during the 25 January 2011 revolution. He has been published in numerous outlets; is well-known for founding a prominent Arabic blog aggregator; and has been involved in a number of citizen journalism initiatives. His book, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated, which compiles some of his deeply influential writings, has received widespread acclaim.

Alaa has been arrested under every Egyptian head of state during his lifetime. He is currently in detention following an unfair trial on spurious charges that relate to his human rights advocacy. On 2 April 2022, Alaa embarked on an open-ended hunger strike as a last bid for freedom. After more than 200 days of partial hunger strike, Alaa announced that, as of 1 November 2022, he is stopping his previous 100-calorie intake and moving to a full hunger strike. Alaa also decided that on 6 November 2022, coinciding with the beginning of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27)in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, he will start a water strike. This means that if he is not released, Alaa will die before the end of COP27.

“If one wished for death then a hunger strike would not be a struggle. If one were only holding onto life out of instinct then what’s the point of a strike? If you’re postponing death only out of shame at your mother’s tears then you’re decreasing the chances of victory….I’ve taken a decision to escalate at a time I see as fitting for my struggle for my freedom and the freedom of prisoners of a conflict they’ve no part in, or they’re trying to exit from; for the victims of a regime that’s unable to handle its crises except with oppression, unable to reproduce itself except through incarceration” – Alaa wrote in a letter to his family announcing escalation of his hunger strike.

On 31 October 2022, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment said, “In advance of COP27, I am joining the chorus of global voices calling for the immediate release of Alaa Abd el-Fattah, an Egyptian activist who has languished in jail for years merely for voicing his opinion. Freedom of speech is a prerequisite for climate justice!”

We add our voices and signatures to this appeal of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, endorsed by many human rights organizations. We urge the authorities to intercede on behalf of the prisoner Alaa Abdel-Fattah and to meet with a few of us:

  1. Philippe Aghion, economist, Paris.
  2. Homero Aridjis, president emeritus PEN International, Mexico.
  3. Étienne Balibar, philosopher, Paris.
  4. Patrick Baudoin, lawyer, president of Ligue des droits de l’Homme, (LDH), honorary president of Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme, (FIDH), Paris.
  5. Souhayr Belhassen, honorary president of Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme, (FIDH), Tunis.
  6. Tahar Ben Jelloun, writer, poet, painter, Paris.
  7. Sadok Ben Mhenni, president of Fondation Lina Ben Mhenni, Tunis.
  8. Raja Ben Slama, psychoanalyst, professor of  medieval Arabic literature, professeure de littérature arabe médiévale, Tunis.
  9. Mahi Binebine, painter, writer, Marrakech.
  10. Geneviève Brisac, writer, Paris.
  11. Jennifer Clement, honorary president, PEN International, Mexico.
  12. Olivier Cohen, publisher, Paris.
  13. Antoine Compagnon, French Academy, Paris.
  14. Didier Daeninckx, writer, Paris.
  15. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, cineast, Bruxelles
  16. Luc Dardenne, cineast, Bruxelles.
  17. Erri De Luca, writer, a village in Italy.
  18. Émilie Dequenne, actress, Paris.
  19. Philippe Descola, anthropologist, Paris.
  20. Jonas Eika, writer, Copenhague.
  21. Driss El Yazami, former président of Fondation Euro-Méditérranéenne de soutien aux défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme, (FEMDH), Rabat.
  22. Didier Éribon, philosopher, Paris.
  23. Annie Ernaux, writer, litterature Nobel prize, Paris.
  24. Mario Giro, peace mediator, community of Sant’Egidio, former minister, Roma.
  25. Étienne Glaser, actor, writer, Stockholm..
  26. Robert Guédiguian, cineast, Paris.
  27. Bahey eldin Hassan, director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Cairo.
  28. Leslie Kaplan, writer, Paris.
  29. Luc Lang, writer, Paris.
  30. Alice Mogwe, president of the Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme, (FIDH), Paris, director of the Botswana Center for Human Rights, Gaborone.
  31. Rosa Montero, writer, Madrid.
  32. Marie NDiaye, writer, Berlin.
  33. Stanislas Nordey, actor, director, Strasbourg.
  34. Jean-Marc Salmon, sociologist, Paris.
  35. Boualem Sansal, writer, Algiers.
  36. Leïla Slimani, writer, Paris.
  37. Benjamin Stora, historian, Paris.
  38. Éric Vuillard, writer, Tours.
  39. Per Wästberg, ex-president PEN International, member of the Nobel committee of the Swedish Academy, Stockholm.
  40. Michel Wieviorka, sociologist, Paris.
  41. Francis Wolff, philosopher, Paris.
  42. Slavoj  Žižek, philosopher, Ljubjana.

Source: Le monde

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