Egypt: Renowned activist reportedly assaulted once again by prison officers

During a recent visit to her son in prison, blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, Laila Soueif learned that he had again been assaulted by prison authorities for attempting to exercise his rights.

During a visit yesterday to see her son, imprisoned blogger and political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, Laila Soueif learned from him that he had once again been assaulted by prison authorities for attempting to practice his rights, including the right to exercise.

Since his most recent arrest in September 2019, Abdel Fattah has been held in a cell without sunlight and deprived of books, newspapers, and exercise. He launched a hunger strike against these illegal conditions on April 2, and he informed his mother on 12 May that he has been practicing various forms of civil disobedience.

In response, officers have violently assaulted Abdel Fattah, illustrating to Soueif their awareness that no matter how much they break the law, no one will hold them accountable.

On her Facebook page, Alaa’s mother, Leila Soueif, said:

Today, 12 May, I visited Alaa Abd El Fattah. The same stuff, including bed sheet, 2 blue T-shirts, tranny radio,  radio batteries, Mickey magazine, novel, poetry book, science book – all were denied.

Ms. Suef continued her post, saying:

“I entered the visit booth, and after a while, Alaa came; he lost much weight, and seemed tired and angry. Alaa said he is on hunger strike for 41 days so far.

He told me that after Eid El Fitr, he insisted to practice various forms of what can be called civil disobedience, refusing to submit to prison administration practices that violate the Prisons Authority regulations, which is faced with violence from the prison administration because of the impunity they enjoy whatever they violated the law, where no one may hold them accountable

On Saturday, when they were delivering the food to his cell, he came out from the cell door and insisted that he had the right to exercise for an hour. However, 5 conscripts holding cudgels, a sergeant holding a pepper spray bottle, an officer holding a taser, and the prison deputy warden who is resentful of Alaa. The deputy warden ordered the soldiers to handcuff Alaa assaulted him, and when Alaa shouted that he was assaulted while handcuffed, the prison warden came and kept his deputy away from Alaa.”

After Soueif complained about the violations against her son, an officer threatened to prevent her from visiting again. “What visit will you ban?” Soueif asked the officer. “I don’t have another visit except for in a month, [by which time] Alaa will be dead.”

On his part, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali announced his intention to file a complaint with the Public Prosecution.

He also called for Abdel Fattah to be transferred out of Tora maximum-security prison, given that his supposed “crime” was publishing posts online.

In a Facebook post, Khaled Ali, who is also Alaa’s lawyer, said:

Today is the 41st. day of Alaa’s hunger strike in his prison cell at the high-security Tora 2 prison. Dr. Laila Souif visited him today, and he told her that the deputy prison warden had beaten him.

“Therefore, we will file an online report today on the incident, and on Saturday we will submit it to the Public Prosecutor’s Office,” he added.

Alaa’s latest arrest came after he shared a tweet accusing officer Ahmed Fekry of killing a political prisoner in Tora prison. He was then thrown into that same prison under the authority of Fekry, who oversaw a physical assault on him the first night.

Mr. Abdel Fattah’s family announced last month that he had obtained British citizenship, and they continue to push British politicians and officials to conduct a consular visit and to advocate on his behalf.