As British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other world leaders came in for the COP27 climate meeting, the sister of an Egyptian-British hunger striker arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday to advocate for his release from custody.
Abdel-Fattah gained notoriety during Egypt’s 2011 popular revolt but has spent the majority of the time afterwards being imprisoned. He was most recently given a five-year sentence in December 2021 on allegations of distributing false information, and he has been on a hunger strike for 220 days to protest his confinement and the conditions in prison.
“When I was still prime minister, I personally brought it up with President (Abdel Fattah al-) Sisi a few weeks ago. I did think President Sisi was open to talking, “Johnson remarked.
Some human rights activists have criticized Egypt’s choice to host COP27, pointing to Cairo’s protracted crackdown on political dissent, which rights organisations claim has resulted in tens of thousands of detentions. Concerns have also been expressed about protestor access and space at the UN climate negotiations.
According to Sisi, stabilizing security measures were required in Egypt following the 2011 upheaval. By hosting the climate talks, Egypt hopes to boost its international standing.