As Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan enters his 232th day of hunger strike with deteriorating health, more people are joining the initiative as an objection to the Protest Law.
On Friday, an anonymous person phoned Soltan’s family and said that Soltan is in a critical health condition, said spokesperson for Soltan’s family Sara Mohamed, who also began a hunger strike nine days ago.
On Wednesday, his 228th day of hunger striking, Soltan passed out and was taken to the prison’s intensive care unit, the anonymous person told them. Soltan is experiencing low blood pressure, low blood glucose levels, and poor kidney function claimed the anonymous, adding that this is stated in the prison’s medical report.
“We have no access to the medical report since Soltan began his hunger strike. We tried to take a look at it several times but we, the [US] embassy and the lawyers were not allowed,” the spokesperson said.
Soltan is one of 52 defendants on trial charged with “forming an operations room to direct the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group to defy the government during the Rabaa sit-in dispersal and to spread chaos in the country,” according to a statement released by the prosecutor general’s office on 3 February. Soltan – who is the son of prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader Salah Soltan – has been detained since 25 August 2013 for participating in the Brotherhood mass sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square and was shot in the arm during its forcible dispersal.
The series of hunger strikes were initiated by Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Elshamy. Elshamy was arrested on 14 August 2013 during the violent clearing of Rabaa El-Adaweya by security forces. He was released after more than 306 days in prison on the grounds of ill health, having spent 147 days on hunger strike.
Among many striking inside and outside prison are 25 Al-Azhar University students who have been on hunger strike for a week, according to the university’s student union. They have been detained for 259 days in Abu Zaabal prison.
A graduate student called Rania Al-Sheikh has been on hunger strike for 10 days, after being held following the presidential palace protest on 21 June, according to 6 April movement. She was among 30 people arrested during the demonstration against the Protest Law.
Sanaa Seif, a member of the No Military Trials of Civilians group and a student, has been on a hunger strike since 28 August. Her brother activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been on hunger strike since August 19 after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia in June, on charges related to violating the Protest Law. He is currently being retried. Their sister Mona and mother Laila Soueif, who are not behind bars, began their hunger strikes last week.
Alexandrian lawyer and activist Mahienour El-Massry had also started a hunger strike on 25 August in support of all those detained over the controversial 2013 Protest Law. Activists Hamada Al-Nubi and Ahmed Douma have been on hunger strikes for 18 days and 15 days respectively. The three are currently detained in Tora Prison.
Saturday also marks the 18th day of detained Yaqin network reporter Ahmed Gamal Zyada’s hunger strike. According to Zyada’s brother Mohamed, the head of investigation at Abu Zaabal prison threatened him with relocation to a solitary confinement cell.
Karim Abdel Sattar, a student at Cairo University, began a hunger strike 21 days ago after being detained for 231 days in Al-Fayoum prison, according to 6 April movement. Cairo University students Refaat Al-Shafei,Hassan Ghoneim and Ali Diab have been on a hunger strike for 21 days as well. Al-Shafei has been detained in Al-Giza police station for 115 days.
Ibrahim Al-Yamani, a physician who was detained from a field hospital on 16 August 2013, has been on hunger strike for 149 days.
The hunger strike is an escalatory procedure, human rights lawyer Amr Imam had said following El-Massry’s strike. “It is an appropriate step in this phase since neither authority listens nor is any judiciary fair.”