Urgent Communication to UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

The family of the Egyptian-British writer and pro-democracy activist Alaa Ahmed Seif al Islam Abd el-Fattah has filed an urgent petition with The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in respect of Mr. Abd el-Fattah’s ongoing detention in Egypt.

Mr. Abd el-Fattah has been detained since September 2019, for sharing another user’s Facebook post about the death of an inmate at an Egyptian prison. In December 2021, an emergency court in Egypt sentenced Mr. Abd el-Fattah to five years’ imprisonment for spreading “false news”. He remains detained in Wadi al-Natrun prison in Cairo and denied consular access.

This is now the fourth time that Mr. Abd el-Fattah has been arrested and jailed by the Egyptian authorities. In 2016, the Working Group adopted an Opinion concluding that Mr. Abd el-Fattah previous period of detention was arbitrary and contrary to international law.

Mr. Abd el-Fattah is the 2023 recipient of the PEN Canada One Humanity Award. His case has attracted open letters from 15 Nobel Laureates and 25 actors, comedians, and political thinkers from across the world.

Mr. Abd el-Fattah and his family are represented before the Working Group by Can Yeginsu, leading Ian McDonald.

The Working Group is a UN body of independent human rights experts whose mandate is to investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or inconsistently with international law standards.

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