Free Alaa Abd El-Fattah: Meet Sanaa Seif, Just Out of Prison, Calling on Egypt to Release Her Brother

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Calls are growing for the release of imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who launched a hunger strike on April 2 to protest the harsh conditions he is held under at Cairo’s Tora prison. Abd El-Fattah, who became a leading voice of the Arab Spring revolution, has been in and out of prison for nearly a decade for his human rights activism. His family recently obtained U.K. citizenship for him in the hopes of pressuring Egyptian authorities to release him, and they warn that his condition is rapidly deteriorating behind bars. We speak to his sister, Sanaa Seif, who was also imprisoned on similar charges of disseminating “false news” before being released in December. “Now is a critical time where it finally might be possible for Alaa to be free,” says Seif. “What keeps us going is that we as a family want to survive and want to unite in peace.” We also speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who is joining Seif on a U.S. tour with Alaa’s new book, “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated.” As the pair advocate for Abd El-Fattah’s immediate release, they also discuss more recent government crackdowns on prominent Egyptian voices, such as TikTok influencer Haneen Hossam. “It seems that prison is the government’s answer to any problem with a citizen,” says Kouddous.

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