Alaa's Birthday!

Monday, November 18th, 2019 

 

Today is Alaa’s 38th birthday! Since he continues to be held in a maximum security prison in Cairo, we are calling on our friends—and the world—to celebrate him.

 

Alaa’s work, activism and thought  has always centred on solidarity, openness and inclusive movement building. The fact that he has been arrested again is proof that these principles are the biggest threat facing our interconnecting regimes. 

 

Celebrate his birthday with us. Write a post, share an image, make a statement about an issue that matters to you, to us, to the world.

 

Among the recent issues Alaa has spoken about:

  • the climate crisis and its impact on collective psychology

  • the problems of Silicon Valley and venture capital

  • prison conditions and punitive states

  • collective vs personal healing in times of crisis 

 

The global struggle has come into focus: massive wealth inequality, corporate greed and corruption are pushing our planet to the limit. We are all bound in the same worldwide battle. It brings us comfort to see how many people have learned from our local defeat in Egypt, it gives us strength to know that we will all combine soon.

 

* * * 

This will be the 6th consecutive year that Alaa spends his birthday in prison, his 7th in total. 

 

Alaa was arrested from outside the police station in which he had been ordered to sleep every night since his release from prison 8 months ago. In 2014 he was sentenced to five years in prison for organising a protest (which he didn't organise). But when he was released, he still had to serve a further sentence: 5 years of sleeping every night in his local police station - these harsh probation conditions have been imposed on many political prisoners arrested since 2013.

 

On the morning of September 29th Alaa was grabbed by National Security Agency officers as he was leaving Dokki police station at 6am. He was beaten on arrival in prison. He has been held since then, having been interrogated once and then given 15 days administrative detention — a tactic the state routinely uses and can be renewed indefinitely. He is being accused of belonging to an illegal organisation and spreading false information — his case number is 1356/2019.

 

His rearrest came as part of the largest arrest sweep since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi formally came to power in 2014. Following small but significant anti-Sisi protests on September 20, security forces arrested over 4,000 people, including leading activists, lawyers, university professors, political opposition figures, along with thousands of mostly young people picked up randomly on the street.

 

The conditions of Alaa’s current imprisonment are the worst of his multiple detentions dating back to 2006. He is being held in Tora Maximum Security 2 where he has no access to reading materials, sunlight, or clean water. All visitations are done through a glass barrier and he has no physical contact with his family. Many of those detained are being held in even worse conditions.