Egypt Watch

European Parliament reiterates call on Egypt to release those arbitrarily detained

On Thursday, the European Parliament reiterated its call on the Egyptian government to release those arbitrarily detained in Egypt, including political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah. Two members of the European Parliament representing France and Sweden had submitted a request to adopt a resolution condemning arbitrary detention in Egypt.

The legislative body adopted the resolution during Thursday’s session, calling on Egypt, which hosts COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November, to improve human rights conditions and uphold fundamental freedoms, particularly freedom of peaceful expression and the right to demonstrate. The Guardian has said that Sanaa Seif, sister of Abdel-Fattah, announced a sit-in in front of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Tuesday to demand the UK government pressure Egypt to release her brother. The latter has been detained for more than three and a half years. According to the Guardian, Seif and her sister, Mona, who are now in London, have intensified their efforts to secure their brother’s release, coinciding with Egypt’s hosting of COP27.

Boris Johnson, previous former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, had raised the issue of Abdel-Fattah, a British-Egyptian, during a call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. When asked about Abdel-Fattah’s case, then-Foreign Secretary Liz Truss emphasized that it was a “top priority” for her government to secure his release. The Guardian noted that despite this, Sana said that these efforts are not enough, stressing that “There are precedents for prisoners with dual nationality being transferred to their other country. It has happened with Americans, Australians and French political prisoners. But the British state needs to push hard for it to work.”

A UK government spokesperson told the Guardian: “The government is working hard to secure Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s release, and we continue to raise his case at the highest levels of the Egyptian government. The foreign secretary recently raised his case when he met Egyptian foreign minister Shoukry at the UN general assembly last month.”