Imprisoned Egyptian Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah Granted UK Citizenship
An Egyptian pro-democracy advocate who has been in prison in Egypt on and off for most of the last decade has been granted a British passport. The family of Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was a leader in the 2011 revolution that led to the deposing of Hosni Mubarak, made the announcement that he had obtained British citizenship on Monday in a move that appears to be designed to pressure Egyptian authorities to release him. Abdel Fattah, 40, was sentenced again in December – after spending nearly three years in pre-trial detention – to five years in prison, on charges of “spreading false news undermining national security.” Last year, Abdel-Fattah’s family and his Egyptian lawyers accused prison authorities in Cairo’s Tora Prison of torturing him and denying him basic legal rights; he began a hunger strike earlier this month to protest the alleged violations against him. Abdel Fattah obtained British citizenship through his mother, Laila Soueif, a math professor at Cairo University who was born in London.