Politicians have written to the foreign secretary urging him to limit the UK’s engagement with the upcoming COP27 climate summit in Egypt until its government frees a pro-democracy activist.
British-Egyptian Alaa Abd el-Fattah has been in prison for almost a decade and was sentenced to five years last December after being accused of spreading false news.
Egypt continues to deny consular access to him, and he has been on hunger strike for more than six months.
Hollywood stars including Dame Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Mark Ruffalo and Carey Mulligan have joined the campaign for his release, along with British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffewho met his sister, Sanaa, as she holds a sit-in protest outside the Foreign Office in London to bring attention to her brother’s plight.
She said her brother was “losing hope that the British government intends to do anything to save him.”
Now, 67 MPs and peers have written to james cleverlyto “strongly encourage [the Foreign Secretary] to make clear to your Egyptian counterparts that Britain’s engagement with COP27 will be seriously undermined by the continued mistreatment of one of its citizens.”
In the letter, signed by politicians on all sides, they call for “urgency”, writing: “Alaa’s life is at serious risk. He is out of hope and has been on hunger strike since 2 April 2022.
“Since 26 May, he has been consuming 100 calories a day – a teaspoon of honey and a bit of milk is all that has been keeping him alive.
“Today he is on day 189 of his strike. He may not live for much longer.”
The signatories say COP27due to start in Egypt on 6 November, “will be a moment of intense public scrutiny” for Egyptand they urge Mr Cleverly to use the opportunity to secure Abd el-Fattah’s freedom.
Sky News has contacted the Foreign Office for a response.