Egypt: rights lawyer joins detainee hunger strike
Egypt's rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali on Sept. 18 joined an ongoing hunger strike by dozens of Egyptians to demand the release of those said to be unjustly detained by authorities in an attempt to curtail political dissent. Ali, whose Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights brought a case demanding repeal of the controversial protest law under which dozens of youth activists have been detained, said he would be fasting for two days in solidarity with those being held. Over 80 detainees are on hunger strike in Egypt's prisons. The controversial statute, issued late last year, bans protest without prior police authorisation and gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than 10 people. Some 200 others outside prisons, including families of the detainees, activists and journalists, have organised a hunger strike in solidarity.
Among the hunger-striking prisoners are Ahmed Douma, a well-known youth activist associated with the 2011 revolution, who activists and lawyers say is at risk after 21 days without food. Two supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi—Mohamed Soltan, on strike for over 230 days, and Ibrahim El-Yamani, striking for over five months—are also said to be in critical health. One of Egypt's most prominent activists, Alaa Abdel Fattah, was released on bail Sept. 15 after almost a month on hunger strike ahead of his retrial on charges of breaching the protest law. (Ahram Online, Sept. 18)