Egypt Watch

David Lammy calls on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to intervene to release Alaa Abdel-Fattah

Member of Parliament for Tottenham David Lammy has called on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to urgently intervene to release imprisoned political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, saying, “He is a British citizen languishing in prison because of his political beliefs.”

Lammy participated in a demonstration organized by Sanaa Seif, Abdel-Fattah’s sister, in front of the office. “I am here as the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, and I am also here as a member of Parliament for the constituency to which the family (Abdel-Fattah’s family) belongs,” he said. “We want to see him safe and well at home,” he added.

The Guardian has said that Seif announced a sit-in in front of the office on Tuesday, to demand the UK government pressure Egypt to release her brother, who has been detained for more than three and a half years. According to the Guardian, Seif and her sister, Mona, 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.”