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News ID: 108517
Publish Date : 02 November 2022 - 21:48
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CAIRO (Al Jazeera/MEMO) – More than a dozen Nobel Literature laureates have called on world leaders to pressure the COP27 International Climate Conference host, Egypt, to free the “thousands” of political prisoners languishing in the country’s prisons, including prominent jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah.
In the letter, sent to the United Nations, the European Council, and heads of state in France, the United Kingdom, the United States and France among others, the 15 Nobel laureates urged the leaders “to use every opportunity” during the conference “to bring the voices of the unjustly imprisoned into the room”.
COP27, which is organized by the UN, will be held in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18, with the aim of bringing governments together to accelerate efforts to curb the world’s climate crisis.
“We urge you to use the opportunity that is now in your hands to help those most vulnerable, not just to the rising seas, but those imprisoned and forgotten – specifically in the very country that has the privilege of hosting you,” the laureates, who include the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, the American poet Louise Gluck, the Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, and the British author Kazuo Ishiguro, said.
“We ask you to use your plenary address to speak the names of the imprisoned, to call for their freedom, and to invite Egypt to turn a page and become a true partner in a different future: a future that respects human life and dignity,” they added.
Egypt has cracked down on dissent ahead of COP27, with an Indian environmental activist released on Monday after he had been detained the previous day.
Public protests are effectively banned in Egypt, following a crackdown on political dissent that began with the overthrow of the country’s first democratically elected leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by then-army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
El-Sisi, who was elected president in 2014, says security measures were needed to stabilize Egypt. The crackdown swept up liberal activists as well as members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi died in 2019 while in government custody.
Meanwhile, six senior Egyptian intelligence officers resigned on Tuesday after they were said to have warned the country’s president prevailing anger among citizens across the country.
Africa Intelligence quoted anonymous sources as saying that the senior officers had submitted their official resignations on “23 October after a meeting they had with the Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.”
“Four of the resigned officers had served during the era of the late President Hosni Mubarak and were allies of former intelligence chief, Khaled Fawzy,” the sources pointed out.

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