French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday asked his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the release of Alaa Abdel Fattah, amid growing concern over the state of health of Egypt’s most famous political detainee. “I raised several individual cases of more fragile (…) more sensitive personalities”, including that of Alaa Abdel Fattah, who stopped eating and drinking, indicated the Head of State during a press conference on the sidelines of the World Climate Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh.
“President Sissi first of all is committed to ensuring that his health is obviously preserved”, noted Emmanuel Macron. The French president asked for “the release” of the detainee, said the Elysée. “I say it here with great caution, but I hope that the next few weeks and the next few months will allow us to have results,” added Emmanuel Macron.
The fate of Alaa Abdel Fattah, an Egyptian-British pro-democracy activist, aged 40, who has been on hunger strike for seven months to protest against his conditions of detention, is causing growing concern. Figure of the 2011 revolution, imprisoned several times since 2006, he has not swallowed any calories since November 1 and stopped drinking on Sunday, when COP 27 opened in Sharm el-Sheikh, at the other end from the country.
“Troubles Against the State”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, arrested by the family of the activist, also promised to discuss his case with the Egyptian president. The French president explained that he had raised with his counterpart the fact that Alaa Abdel Fattah “had led fights (…) for several years in the country, with great courage, including fights that President Sissi himself had could share.
He also reiterated his desire not to expand “outside” on his exchanges with President Sissi, judging that it was “much more effective” to achieve results. “The last few years have shown that each time I have done this we have obtained the release of activists, activists (…) following express requests that I have been able to make”, said Emmanuel Macron, in reference in particular to the Egyptian-Palestinian political activist Ramy Shaath.
The latter, coordinator in Egypt of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS, advocating the boycott of Israel in the fight against the occupation of the Palestinian Territories), was released in January 2022 after more than two years of detention for “unrest against the state”. He then went to France where his wife is from.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.