Four journalists announce hunger strike

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On Monday, Egyptian journalists Rasha Azab, Iman Auf and Mona Selim announced a partial hunger strike and a sit-in at the Journalists’ Syndicate in solidarity with prisoners of conscience in Egypt, including imprisoned political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on hunger strike for six months. They demanded the immediate release of Abdel Fattah, the release of detained journalists, the cessation of persecution of writers, the opening of the public sphere, and the introduction of radical solutions to the issue of political prisoners. They also called on their syndicate to defend journalists.

Azab said four journalists have been arrested recently, adding, “While there is talk of preparing for a national dialogue, the security services are chasing writers.”

On Tuesday, Deutsche Welle said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, currently taking part in the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, called on the Egyptian government to release Abdel Fattah. “There has to be a decision. His release must be possible so that his hunger strike does not end in death,” Scholz said. “We should fear that this will lead to horrific results.” The family of Abdel Fattah, a British-Egyptian, had said he escalated his partial hunger strike to a full-blown strike starting on November 1. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also called on the Egyptian government to immediately release Abdel Fattah and provide him with the necessary medical treatment.