Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s sister said, on Tuesday, that she had received a message stating that the British activist of Egyptian origin had ended his hunger strike after more than 200 days.
“The important thing is I want to celebrate my birthday with you on Thursday, I haven’t celebrated in a long time, I want to celebrate with my cellmates so I bring cake, plain supplies, I broke my strike,” reads part of the letter, purportedly from Abdel Fattah and addressed to to his mother, which was posted on Sanaa Seif’s Twitter account.
“We just received this message. Alaa broke his hunger strike. I don’t know what’s going on inside, but our family visit is scheduled for Thursday and he says bringing a cake to celebrate his birthday. #FreeAlaa,” Saif wrote, along with a picture of the message.
Earlier this month, Abdel Fattah escalated his hunger strike for more than 200 days and stopped drinking water as world leaders began gathering in Egypt for the COP27 climate summit.
The Arab Spring activist’s plight overshadowed the event and led to renewed calls for his release, including from Amnesty International. Abdul Fattah’s case was also raised by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak while attending COP27.
Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, said Abdel Fattah’s status was a “judicial matter” and claimed he had received a “fair trial”.
Seif said on Twitter on Monday that Egyptian prison officials had sent a message to her mother saying that Abdel Fattah was alive and that he had started drinking water again on Saturday.
Seif held a press conference last week during which she said the family did not know if Abdel Fattah was alive. Egyptian authorities have repeatedly resisted calls for his release.
Abdel Fattah was one of the leading activists in the 2011 uprising that toppled the government of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak’s democratically elected successor was overthrown in a coup and replaced by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the current president, under whose rule civil society and freedom of expression have been stifled.
Abdel Fattah has spent most of the past decade in prison on charges activists say are politically motivated. In 2019, he was sentenced to another five years in prison for spreading false news after publishing a post on Facebook highlighting human rights violations in Egyptian prisons.