EGYPT: Hunger strike for jailed blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah

Alaa Abd El Fattah was sentenced to 15 days at a military court summoning.

My name is Laila Souief, I am Alaa Ahmed Seif El Islam Abdel Fattah’s mother. Alaa was remanded in custody on Sunday the 30th of October 2011 by order of the military prosecution investigating the 9th of October 2011 events, known as Maspero events. I went on hunger strike on the morning of the 6th of November 2011, the first day of the Great Feast.


My decision to take that step is based on my solid conviction that Alaa’s detention is not due to the needs of the ongoing investigation, but is in fact a punishment because of his political positions and activities. Remanding opponents in custody on bogus charges was a policy used by state security prosecution before Mubarak’s ousting, and is used today by the military prosecution against opponents to the Supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF).

General Adel El Morsi, head of military judiciary, has made press statements claiming that Alaa Abdel Fattah was not remanded because of his activism but because he is accused of certain charges. He added that the appeal to his detention has been rejected since he committed acts considered unlawful by the criminal code, namely:

1. Theft of a weapon belonging to the military forces

2. Deliberate vandalism of funds and property of the armed forces

3. Assault against public officers (members of the armed forces) entrusted with public service

4. Assembly and use of force and violence against members of the armed forces.I published an open letter in Shorouk newspaper dated 5 November 2011 asking the General: if Alaa is accused of stealing a weapon belonging to the armed forces, why did they not send a force to arrest him and search his house for the alleged stolen weapon? The conduct of the military prosecution in summoning Alaa indicates that it is not taking those charges seriously and yet orders his detention and rejects the appeal submitted by his lawyers to ensure his continued incarceration.

Members of the prosecution and the military court that looked into Alaa’s appeal knew that he was abroad when he was summoned, that he presented himself to the prosecution on the date agreed on with his lawyer and that he did not attempt to escape. They also knew that his first baby is due to be born this month and that he would not escape and leave his wife. Still the military prosecution orders his detention and the military court rejects his appeal.

I refuse the trial of my son or any other civilian by a military court since this is a violation of principles of justice as perceived by everyone. Even if it is considered “legal” it is only so according to laws put in place by illegitimate authorities that have forcefully usurped the rule of our country for decades.

I refuse the trial of my son or any other civilian by a military court because I have myself observed the exercise of military “justice” on the ground. Amr El Baheiry continues to be imprisoned since last February, sentenced by military court to five years in prison, despite my testimony and that of three others of his innocence. None of us had any previous acquaintance with Amr, so there is no reason we would falsely testify in his interest. Yet the testimony of any number of civilians does not count for the military judiciary if it contradicts the story of one military person.

I refuse the trial of my son or any other civilian by a military court because I still remember those ridiculous military trials of the Muslim Brotherhood before 25 January revolution. We opposed and protested against those trials before the revolution, how are we expected to accept them after.

I especially refuse that the military prosecution investigate the Maspero events. Not only because members of the army are accused of killing unarmed civilians in those events, but also because the leadership of the army, the Supreme council of the Armed forces – to which the military judiciary is affiliated- has declared its biased interpretation of the events. It even permitted army forces to clear the crime scene during the curfew, in an obvious obstruction of justice.

For all the above reasons I continue my hunger strike until the release of my son, no matter how long his detention lasts.

Laila Soueif

Laila Souief on her hunger strike for son, Egypt jailed blogger Alaa




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