German MPs and UK trade unionists join solidarity action against repression in Egypt

Members of the German parliament have issued a statement calling for the release of political prisoners in Egypt, highlighting the case of socialist activists Hisham Fouad, Ayman Abdel-Moati, Haitham Mohamedain, Mahienour el-Masri, Khalil Rizk and Patrick Zaki. 

Signatories include Michel Brandt, Member of Parliament for Die LINKE parliamentary group, Member of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid and Christine Buchholz, Member of Parliament for Die LINKE parliamentary group, Member of the Defense Committee. 

The statement condemns the German government’s strong ties with the al-Sisi regime.

Despite its systematic repressive action against civil society, the German government continu-es to court Al-Sisi‘s regime. The former Egyptian ambassador to Berlin received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in October 2020. Egypt was the main recipient of German war weapons exports in 2020, with exports totaling 585.9 million euros from January to September alone.”

Statement by German Left MPs

The MPs are calling for the release of all political prisoners and an end to the sale of weapons and surveillance technology to Egypt. 

Read the full statement here 

Trade unionists in the UK are also mobilising to condemn the repression in Egypt. UCU, the union representing 130,000 staff in further and higher education has backed the calls for the release of jailed activists, as well as supporting the ongoing campaign for justice for Giulio Regeni, the Cambridge PhD student who was murdered by the Egyptian security forces in Cairo while carrying out research there in 2016. 

Part of the online vigil for Giulio Regeni organised by Amnesty on 24 January

Vicky Blake, UCU’s national president, spoke alongside Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner and Debora Singer of Amnesty International at a vigil organised by Cambridge City Amnesty and supported by Cambridge UCU to mark five years since Giulio’s disappearance and murder. She urged urgent action to end the regime’s violations of human rights and called on UK universities not to jump into deals with higher education providers in Egypt while turning a blind eye to these abuses. 

Academic freedom and workers’ rights are under severe attack in Egypt, jeopardising the fundamental bedrock needed for that accessible, democratic education system. It is in this context that UCU has raised the alarm about the plans of some UK universities to develop “partnerships” and “campuses” in countries with terrible human rights abuses, including in Egypt. Our deep, saddening suspicion is that the motivations of profit and ‘the market’ often seem to tempt senior management teams into ventures that would paper over the very real human rights abuses and exploitation of workers which we must all oppose.

We have a saying in the trade union movement that an injury to one is an injury to all. The meaning of that phrase must go beyond words of sorrow, and manifest in practical steps. We are here in unending solidarity, and we are committed to the fight for justice and truth in Giulio’s name.

Vicky Blake, UCU national president

Unison members in the London Fire Brigade also voted to back the campaign in solidarity with Egyptian political prisoners, sending a letter highlighting the case of Hisham Fouad who has been suffering from medical neglect in prison. 

Read a copy of the letter here

What you can do:

  • Read more our background briefing here and take action in solidarity