National Council for Human rights deputy chairman Abdel Ghaffar Shokr noted that the decision to amend the Protest Law has been postponed for fear that it would give Muslim Brotherhood “the chance to protest”.
Shokr said that government officials, including Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, have expressed their “non-objection” to amend the protest law.
However, hunger strikes are on the rise as a demonstration of the opposition to the Protest Law and detention of all political detainees. A campaign titled “Against the Protest Law” was established to support the same cause.
Many International organisations, including Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), called for authorities to meet the demands of the detainees and expressed their opposition to the controversial Protest Law, especially with the number of hunger strikers, inside and outside of prison, increasing.
According to Shokr, however, with the rising number of hunger strikers, their demands will eventually be met, as they are “expressing their opinions peacefully”.
Amnesty International issued a statement Friday condemning the act of Egyptian authorities that put the life of jailed Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan at risk by denying him sustained medical care and placing him in solitary confinement.
Soltan’s health has deteriorated as he has been on a hunger strike to protest his detention for more than 230 days. He was arrested in August 2013 during the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in.
The statement read that Soltan is among 86 hunger striking jailed activists in prisons and police stations. The main reason for hunger striking, according to the statement, is protesting against “the dire conditions in which they are held, their prolonged pre-charge or pre-trial detention and unfair trials”.
They are protesting as well against the “repressive Protest Law”.
Among other detained activists is Ibrahim El Yamany, who has been on hunger strike for more than 150 days; security forces have attempted to force him to end his hunger strike by placing him in solitary confinement for 20 days and tying his arms and legs to the bars of his cell door for several hours in Wadi El-Natrun Prison, according to the statement.
El Yamany was detained for his work in a field hospital during protests in Ramses Square, Cairo on 16 and 17 August 2013. He is charged with belonging to a banned group, protesting without authorisation and using violence, among other charges.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: “The authorities have an obligation to ensure the right to health of all detainees, including hunger strikers.”
Sahraouj added that punishing detainees to force them to end their hunger strike is considered a violation of their right to freedom of expression.