News ID: 103734
Publish Date : 15 June 2022 - 21:45

CAIRO (Middle East Eye) – More than 1,000 celebrities have urged UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken to use their “diplomatic power” and help secure the release of Egyptian political prisoner, Alaa Abd el-Fattah.
Actors and celebrities signed a letter calling on the two countries to “unequivocally condemn” the 40-year-old’s prolonged detention in Egypt.
Khalid Abdalla, an Egyptian-British actor, launched the letter at a press conference at the UK’s parliament on Tuesday.
“A whole host of names who are the pillars of our cultural landscape around the world have signed this letter in support of Alaa,” he told Middle East Eye during the event.
“[They are] demanding his freedom and asking Liz Truss to do something about it. So far Liz Truss has done nothing.”
Abd el-Fattah has spent eight out of the last 10 years in jail on a range of charges.
The 40-year-old is widely regarded as one of the most prominent youth figures in Egypt’s pro-democracy movement.
While in jail, in December 2021, he was sentenced to five years in prison by an emergency state security court on charges of spreading “false news”, in a trial widely condemned by human rights defenders. The evidence used against him was a retweet.
“We call upon you to use all diplomatic power to leverage the importance of your strategic relationships with Egypt to secure [Abd el-Fattah’s] immediate release,” the co-signed letter urged Truss and Blinken.
The British Egyptian started a hunger strike on 2 April, protesting against Cairo’s refusal to allow him access to the UK embassy and provide other basic rights.
“Imagine… you are in prison abroad for sharing a Facebook post, given five years in prison, and the foreign secretary of your country hasn’t said a word months later,” said Abdalla, who has known Abd el-Fattah for over 25 years. “Imagine what precedent that sets for other British citizens.”
Sanaa Seif, Abd el-Fattah’s sister, said that it was “heartwarming” to see the level of international solidarity with her brother’s case.

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