After 100 days of hunger striking, Alaa Abd El Fattah agrees to partial strike

Imprisoned leftist activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah has moved to a partial hunger strike as of Wednesday, after more than three months on full hunger strike.

With 24 other secular activists, Alaa was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for partaking in an unauthorized protest, along with other accusations, in light of a non-violent rally dating back to November 2013. 

On the social networking site Twitter, his sister Mona wrote on Wednesday: “As of today, Alaa has been on total hunger strike for 100 days. Due to his recent health complications and the recurrence of kidney problems, we spoke to him and he agreed to move to a partial strike.”

Alaa’s wife, Manal, wrote a posting on her personal Facebook account in which she mentioned that his kidney problems emerged during his first hunger strike, which he had suspended on September 15, 2014. 

Manal confirmed that Alaa would embark on a partial hunger-strike instead, adding, “following our [prison] visitation, he had agreed to consume the juice that we had brought him.”

Alaa has followed in the footsteps of hundreds of other hunger-strikers, including both inmates and solidarity protesters outside prisons, who have been protesting against the increased crackdowns and incarcerations of those opposing the military-backed regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Alaa launched his hunger strike from Tora Prison on August 18, 2014 after authorities had delayed the necessary security clearance to allow him visitations of his hospitalized father, Ahmed Seif al-Islam. 

Also contributing to his decision to embark on hunger strike was the jailing of his youngest sister, Sanaa, who was arrested during a peaceful protest march near the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on June 21, 2014.

Alaa and Sanaa’s inability to be by their father’s side when he passed away on August 27, drove both of these jailed activists to push ahead with their hunger strikes.  

From their prison cells, Alaa and Sanaa continued their hunger strikes, as did their family members (outside of prison) in solidarity with them. The family embarked on a hunger strike from September 4 to November 19, 2014.

Another imprisoned activist, the Egyptian-American Islamist protester Mohamed Soltan, who has been at the forefront of the country’s hunger strikers, and who reportedly remained without food for over 360 days, also moved to a partial hunger strike late last month.

Soltan’s health had deteriorated to the extent that his life was in grave danger. 

This Islamist activist was also convinced of moving to a partial hunger strike after great pressure from his family who feared that he may die at any moment. 

Last month photos of Soltan were circulated on social media networks, these photos show the frail activist bleeding from his mouth on a hospital bed to which he was handcuffed. 

No presidential pardons or amnesties have been issued for any of these prominent hunger striking activists, despite expectations that the anniversary of the January 25 Uprising would lead to the release of several jailed activists.