University professor Laila Soueif and activist Mona Seif announced the escalation of their hunger strike in an official statement Monday, surviving only on IV fluids and putting their lives at risk, until their detained family members are released.
Their decision follows the three-year sentence handed to Sanaa Seif and the detention of her brother Alaa Abd El Fattah until the next court session in the Shura Council case, scheduled for November 11.
“Sanaa joined the hunger strike 62 days ago, against the Protest Law and the detention of youth. Mona and I joined the solidarity campaign with hunger strikers 55 days ago,” Soueif wrote on her Facebook account.
Soueif and Seif commenced their hunger strike on September 4, following Abd El Fattah and Sanaa’s imprisonment.
“Yesterday, Sanaa and her colleagues were sentenced to three years in prison, and today Alaa’s trial began, along with his colleagues in the Shura Council case, before a new judge, after the previous judge stepped down. All defendants were released on bail and attended the court session … but the judges still ordered their detention until the next session on November 11. Therefore, Mona and I decided to go on a full hunger strike and notified the prosecutor general of our decision,” Soueif continued on Facebook.
Security forces at the courthouse arrested the defendants on Monday, but took Abd El Fattah separately. His whereabouts remained unknown until Mona Seif announced on her Twitter account on Tuesday that they had received information he was being held at Tora Farm Prison.
Taher Mokhtar, an ICU doctor, told Mada Masr that abstaining from drinking water endangers one’s life. “The hunger striker’s body can obtain energy for a long time through its cells, however it cannot compensate for water and salts,” he said. “The heart and nervous system depend on salts, especially sodium, potassium, chloride and calcium, which are essential.
Khaled Abdel Hamid, member of the Freedom to the Brave campaign, said they are still considering solidarity measures to be taken, especially after the recent developments in the Ettehadiya and Shura Council cases.
A hunger striking campaign against the Protest Law continues, with around 125 people on strike inside prisons, including Mohamed Soltan, who has been on hunger strike for 278 days.
Outside prison, 1028 people have joined the hunger strike in solidarity.
On Monday, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the detention of 20 defendants in the Shura Council case, including activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, until the next trial date of November 11.
Abd El Fattah’s sister, Sanaa, was handed a three-year prison sentence on Sunday, along with another 22 activists on similar charges, relating to a protest last summer at Ettehadiya Presidential Palace.