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Downham Market MP and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss joins the ranks of Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Mark Ruffalo and vows to help British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah on 88 day hunger strike



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Downham's MP and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has joined stars such as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Mark Ruffalo in support of Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a British-Egyptian after he was imprisoned in Egypt under claims he was "spreading false news".

The pro-democracy activist has now gone on an 88 day hunger strike after news of his detainment and was sentenced to five years in prison at the end of last year.

Stars across the globe have show outrage at his treatment and have called for his release.

Actors Judi Dench, Emma Thompson Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy;, Mark Ruffal, Riz Ahmed and Olivia Colman were among the celebrities to sign a letter calling on the two countries to "unequivocally condemn" the 40-year-old's prolonged detention in Egypt.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a British- Egyptian who has been jailed for a decade Credit: Amnesty International (57620602)
Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a British- Egyptian who has been jailed for a decade Credit: Amnesty International (57620602)

The Foreign Secretary told MPs she is seeking to hold a meeting with her Egyptian counterpart to raise the case of Alaa Abd El-Fattah.

From left Dame Judy Dench with partner David Mills and Robin Page from the The Countryside Restoration Trust. Picture: Keith Heppell. (56223404)
From left Dame Judy Dench with partner David Mills and Robin Page from the The Countryside Restoration Trust. Picture: Keith Heppell. (56223404)
de Emma Thompson Late Night (44964588)
de Emma Thompson Late Night (44964588)

It comes after Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran told the House of Commons: "Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a British national currently being imprisoned in Egypt and is on day 81 of his hunger strike.

"He's an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and has been in prison for his pro-democracy views for eight of the last nine years since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power.

"The family will be outside the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) today between 5pm and 7pm asking: 'Where is the Foreign Secretary?'

"Would she consider meeting with them to discuss how we can ensure his release?"

Ms Truss replied: "I can assure you that we're working very hard to secure his release.

Elizabeth Truss - UK Parliament official portraits 2017. (56129880)
Elizabeth Truss - UK Parliament official portraits 2017. (56129880)

"Lord Ahmad has met with the family and I am seeking a meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister, he's due to visit the United Kingdom shortly, and I'll be raising his case."

Mr Abd El-Fattah's family pleaded with Ms Truss and have welcomed her involvement.

His sister Mona Seif has said to national news outlets a few days ago:"It's an incredible relief to hear the Foreign Secretary say, inside the Chamber, that the Government is working very hard to secure Alaa's release.

"We've always believed that, if the FCDO put its full weight behind Alaa, his nightmare would be over.

"But he is on day 81 of hunger strike now and time is running out. I hope they decide to fully commit before it's too late."

Mr Abd El-Fattah is currently consuming only 100 calories a day, in a bid to elongate the campaign for his release.

He has spent the last decade behind bars and his new book You Have Not Yet Been Defeated, a collection of essays has been dubbed "more pertinent than ever" by critics.

Since President el Sisi took over in 2014 after the world watched a shocking bloodbath at Tahir Square in Cairo and political unrest, there has reportedly been a detainment of more than 65,000 people for political reasons.

This year the republic's media says that Sisi has pardoned 3,000 prisoners including prominent leftist journalist Hossam Moniss as is customary before the end of Ramadan.

It was also reported that over 3,000 criminal prisioners had also been released and pardoned by their president.

The last pinned Tweet on El-Fattah's Twitter profile from March 30 2019 translates as: "I am the poison, I am the antidote. I am the medicine, I am the root of the disease.I am the ghost of the late spring."



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