MIDDLE EAST – MPs and peers are calling on the UK government to do more to free activists jailed in Egypt.

More than 100 MPs and peers have written to the Foreign Secretary expressing concern over the lack of progress on the release of a jailed British-Egyptian activist.

It comes seven months after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shook hands with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi while Alaa Abd el-Fattah was on the brink of a hunger strike.

former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn; former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith; John Montague, 11th Earl of Sandwich; And Chris Patton, the last British governor of Hong Kong, “expressed our concern at the lack of progress in the Alaa Abdul-Fattah case,” James wisely wrote.

“Private lobbying by the Egyptian government, even at the highest levels, has yet to bear fruit. This calls for new approaches that build on traditional British strengths in international diplomacy,” they said, adding that the UK should take the lead when addressing the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Egypt. .

“We urge you to update the FCDO travel advisory as a matter of priority to align with the US travel advisory on the status of citizens detained in Egypt,” they added.

This year marks a decade since the military coup that brought Sisi to power, during which he cracked down on all forms of political dissent, imprisoning journalists and activists and cracking down on potential opposition to his rule. Abd el-Fattah and his family have been frequent targets: the 41-year-old organizer and writer has spent much of the past 10 years in prison, accused of terrorism charges and violating a law that essentially bans protests in Egypt.

See also  Eight years later, Apple is expected to open a new store in the UK

Sunak publicly shook hands with Sisi during the Cop27 climate conference last November, while Abd el-Fattah was imprisoned – severely weakened by a long hunger strike and subsequent water strike – in a high-security prison in the desert. As Sisi welcomed world leaders to Egypt, Abdel Fattah repeatedly “[smashed] His own head on the wall of his cell”, his family said, demanding that his case be investigated. He was given IV fluids.

Days before the meeting with Sisi, Sunak wrote to Abdul-Fattah’s sister, Sana Seif, who had already staged a protest outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office demanding government action on the matter. “We are fully committed to solving your brother’s case; “As a human rights defender and a British citizen, he is a priority for the British government,” he said.

Avoid newsletter advertising