On Wednesday, 15 Nobel laureates demanded releasing opinion prisoners in Egypt, including the well-known blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah before COP27, which will start next Sunday in Sharm Al-Sheikh. “We urge all representatives of governments, environmental groups and business to use the means at their disposal to help those most vulnerable, not just to the rising seas, but the imprisoned and forgotten,” said The Nobel laureates said in a joint letter to the leaders of the participant countries, UN secretary-general and the president of the European Council.
The letter highlighted the case of Alaa Abdel Fattah, who “has spent the last ten years – a quarter of his life – in prison, for words he has written.” The letter was signed by 13 winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature: Svetlana Alexievich, JM Coetzee, Annie Ernaux, Louise Glück, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elfriede Jelinek, Mario Vargas Llosa, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka and Olga Tokarczuk, as well as scientist and Nobel prize in chemistry winner George P Smith, and mathematician and Nobel prize in physics winner Roger Penrose. “As Nobel laureates, We believe in the world-changing power of words and the need to defend them if we are to build a more sustainable, genuinely fairer future.” The letter emphasized that sustainability cannot be achieved “through compromise with authoritarianism” but through “more democracy, more transparency and more civic participation.”
Nobel laureates demanded the leaders to “raise the names of political prisoners, to call for their freedom and to invite Egypt to turn a page and become a true partner in building a different future: a future that respects human life and dignity.” According to the letter, can start this with “a prisoner amnesty.” “We must ensure that our words are spoken in defence of the most vulnerable – because we know that our silence puts them at greater risk,” concluded the letter.