Activists launch international campaign for Egyptian hungerstrikers

Journalist and novelist Ahdaf Soueif and leading anti-torture campaigner Aida Seif el-Dawla are among dozens of well-known Egyptian activists who have launched a call for international signatures on a letter to the Egyptian Human Rights Council protesting at the continued detention of Abdallah al-Shami and Muhammad Sultan. The two men, who have been imprisoned without trial since August 2013 are on hunger strike, and are in danger of dying in prison.

Al-Shamy is a photojournalist who was working for Al-Jazeera at the time of his arrest as the police and army smashed up a protest camp of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo. Sultan was arrested by police who were searching for his father. Neither have been convicted, and one has not even been charged.

What you can do:

  • Sign the statement online here

To the Egyptian Human Rights Council:

Transfer Abdallah El Shamy (Al Jazeera Journalist) and Mohamed Sultan (son of Muslim preacher) to a hospital before they die in prison and release them urgently


We, citizens of the international community, are demanding that you take immediate action to ensure the safety and welfare of Abdallah al-Shami and Muhammad Salah Sultan, who are both on a hunger strike in the Egyptian Aqrab Maximum Security Prison.

While we are very concerned about the apparent erosion of due process in Egypt over the last months, we are now extremely concerned that Mr al-Shami and Mr Sultan may die. These two young men have found it necessary to use their weapon of last resort – hunger strike – in their attempt to secure a fair hearing.

Abdallah al-Shami is a journalist with al-Jazeera. He was arrested on August 14, 2013 while covering the break-up of the Rabaa sit-in. After 5 months, on January 21 2014 he started a hunger strike in protest against being held without charge and without evidence. His imprisonment has been repeatedly extended, the latest time, on the 3rd of May, for 45 more days. His health has deteriorated badly but the Prison Authority has seen fit to send him to solitary confinement. They have revoked his exercise of rights and prevented him from receiving visits or talking with other people. In fact the Authority has found it reasonable to close the small hatch in his cell door. The Authority has also tried to force-feed him and has coerced him into being photographed with items of food at his side. Mr al-Shami has lost 40 kilograms in weight. His blood tests – run at a private clinic at his own expense – show severe anaemia and a malfunctioning of the kidneys. We believe that his life is in danger.

Muhammad Sultan started his hunger strike on January 26, 2014 when his imprisonment was renewed repeatedly with no charges and no evidence. He was taken from his home on August 27, 2013, when the police broke into the house to arrest his father. They did not find the father but they took the son. Mr Sultan is now on day 105 of his hunger strike. He has lost over 45 kilograms in weight, his blood glucose is down to 40. He is in danger of death through haemorrhage or a diabetes coma.

Two men who have not been convicted – in fact one of them has not even been charged – are about to die in an Egyptian prison. It is urgent that you do not to allow this crime to take place. We ask that both men be transferred immediately to hospital preparatory to their urgent release.

The international community places itself firmly in support of Egyptian citizens who have been trying to secure the fair and humane treatment of detainees.

View signatories and sign the petition here