UN Rights Chief Calls on Egypt to Release Jailed Hunger Striker

Photo: AFP [via Le Monde]

The Facts

  • On Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk urged Egypt to immediately release British-Egyptian jailed hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah, warning that his life "is in great danger."

  • Since the opening of the COP27 climate summit, Turk and UN Secretary-General António Guterres have reportedly raised the case with Egyptian authorities as Abd el-Fattah went on a full hunger strike last week and stopped drinking water on Sunday to coincide with the conference.

The Spin

Narrative A

Leaders attending the COP27 summit have the power to free Abd el-Fattah and should use their visit to Egypt to do so. If those who claim to be fighting for change don't do something this time around, not only could Fattah die, but so too could countless activists and others who face persecution.

Narrative B

The West has already been ramping up multi-faceted pressure on Egypt, with international human rights watchdogs urging the country to stop its repression of civil society and the US deciding to withhold millions in foreign military aid over Egypt's failure to fulfil human rights conditions. Former MP Ziyad el-Elaimy has already been pardoned, and Fattah must also be released soon.

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