Sister of an imprisoned Egyptian rights activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who began to refuse even water after more than 200 days of hunger strike at the beginning COP27 climate conference, asked President Biden directly for help in saving her brother’s life. Before Biden’s meeting on Friday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Sanaa Seif said the American leader could “make a difference”.

President Biden, you said no more blank checks. You’ve shown that you care and that you are at least better than your predecessors, and that is really critical, ”Seif told CBS News. “Here you can make a difference. You can save Alaa and show that there is some hope and potential for common sense, freedom, democracy. Please don’t let us down.

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Trapped Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah is pictured in this undated photo shared by the Free Alaa campaign.

Free Alaa


The White House expressed “deep concern” for Abdel-Fattah on Thursday. The imprisoned activist, who is a dual citizen of Egypt and Britain, was an important figure in the pro-democracy Arab Spring movement more than ten years ago. Since 2014, he has been imprisoned in Egypt for virtually the entire term of el-Sisi, the current authoritarian president of Egypt. His family and human rights organizations call the charges against him politically motivated and untrue.

“We communicated at a high level with the Egyptian government on this matter. We have deep concern. We would like him to be released, “National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

“I’m afraid. I panic, ”said Seif, who is also a rights activist and has been imprisoned several times in her home country. She attends a UN climate conference at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, trying to put pressure on the international leaders assembled there to ensure her brother’s release.

UNFCCC COP27 climate conference: day five
Sanaa Seif, sister of dissident Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who is imprisoned in Egypt and on hunger strike, attends a protest rally to demand freedom for imprisoned human rights and environmental activists around the world at the UNFCCC COP27 climate conference on November 10 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Getty Images


UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said they raised the Abdel-Fattah case directly with el-Sisi in the margins of the conference, and French media reported that el-Sisi told French President Emmanuel Macron that the activist’s health was “preserved.”

On Thursday, the Abdel-Fattah family were told that he had received “medical intervention“but they have not been allowed to see or communicate with him and they do not know what this” intervention “is. His lawyer said he was sent from prison even though he was given a visit permit on Thursday because he was released for the wrong date.

“We are being intimidated and they keep giving us different information … One moment they admit that he is on a hunger strike, then they decide,” no, he eats “and no one confirms the water strike and, I don’t know,” I imagine he’s on a hunger strike somewhere. in hospital, handcuffed to the bed and put on drips, and I hope nothing happened against his will, ”Seif told CBS News.

Mr. Biden is due to speak at COP27 on Friday and was scheduled to meet el-Sisi off the beaten track.

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