Cambridge students and researchers have joined the solidarity hunger strike campaign. Graduate students Mona AlQazzaz and Owen Holland, and researcher Anne Alexander will be taking part in a 24 hour hunger strike on 16th October. This is their statement:
We will be taking part in a series of symbolic 24 hour hunger strikes, starting 16th October, in solidarity with over 140 political prisoners in Egypt who are on hunger strike in protest at long periods of pre-trial detention, abuse and torture of detainees, and harsh sentences for non-violent acts of dissent.
Egypt is experiencing the worst phase of human rights violations in its modern history. Human rights organisations have reported over 40k political prisoners in the 18 months with no prospect of fair trials or due legal process. Under the military regime in Egypt, protests have been criminalised, students shot dead on university campuses and arrested for peacefully expressing their opinions, while civil society and NGOs have experienced a far-reaching crackdown.
Students and academics are in the frontline of repression. Around 130 students have been arrested in the last week alone in what Human Rights Watch describes as “a pre-emptive strike on free speech and free assembly”. Security forces stormed the campus at Alexandria University’s Faculty of Engineering on 14 October, using tear gas and rubber bullets against student protesters.
In the past year at least 900 students have been detained, and ten are taking part in the hunger strike protests. Sanaa Seif, a twenty-year old student, is among a group of 23 people arrested in the vicinity of a peaceful protest on 21st June this year who will be on trial on Thursday 16 October facing charges under Egypt’s notorious anti-protest law. Another hunger striker, Mohamed Soltan, a 26-year old Egyptian-American citizen has also been on trial this week. Soltan is now critically ill, and according Amnesty International has been punished with solitary confinement and refused proper medical care by the prison authorities.
Activists supporting the prison hunger strikes in Egypt have launched a call for international solidarity with their campaign. Will you join us?
Mona AlQazzaz, Owen Holland, Anne Alexander
What you can do:
- If you want to take part in the hunger strike action, sign up online here: https://egyptsolidarityinitiative.org/1000hours/
- Write a letter of protest to the Egyptian authorities, condemning repression of protests, the crackdown on campus and the abuse of prisoners. (Contact details for the embassy are here: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/english/embassies/egyptian_embassy_london/contactus/pages/default.aspx)
- We’ll be outside the Alison Richard Building on Sidgwick Site, West Road, Cambridge 1-2pm on Tuesday 21st October if you want to add your name to a collective protest letter from Cambridge University students and staff about the repression in Egypt.