On Wednesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which deals with the relationship between civil rights and the Internet, announced that programmer and political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah won its award for the year “in honour of his vital contribution to pushing technology to support freedom, justice, and the right to creativity.” “The work of Abdel-Fattah and other winners has helped build a world in which we can all enjoy the freedom of expression, freedom from surveillance, and freedom to control our bodies and the tools and services that surround us,” said EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohen.
The EFF said that the work of Abdel-Fattah represents their highest aspirations for technology to serve freedom, justice and creativity. The organisation’s website described Abdel-Fattah as an Egyptian-British blogger, software developer, political activist, and perhaps the most prominent political prisoner in Egypt, if not the entire Arab world. It also mentioned that he was instrumental in creating technology networks in the Arab world, ran one of the oldest and most popular blogs in Egypt, and co-founded a leading Egyptian blogging aggregator.
Abdel-Fattah’s mother, Laila Soueif, had spoken of the deterioration of his physical condition after a recent visit to him in Wadi el-Natrun prison. She said the visit lasted 20 minutes, and his mental state was good, but he looked frailer than ever. Abdel-Fattah has been on a hunger strike for 169 days.