Prominent Egyptian human rights activists Laila Suweif and Aida Seif El-Dawla began a hunger strike on Sunday in solidarity with detained Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah El-Shamy and Egyptian-American Mohamed Sultan, son of pro-Muslim Brotherhood preacher Salah Sultan, both whom have been on a hunger strike since January.
A statement by Suweif and Seif El-Dawla said their demands are the same as those posted by hundreds of activists to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on Wednesday, which called for El-Shamy and Sultan’s hospitalization and release.
“Both have exhausted all legal routes in a country where law has become absent,” read the statement, which went on to claim that El-Shamy is being detained without charges and that Sultan was arrested in August out of spite for his father. Sultan says police were looking for his father and was arrested instead when they didn’t find him.
El-Shamy faces charges of terrorizing citizens and attempted murder, along with hundreds of others who were arrested on 14 August when police violently dispersed a Brotherhood-led sit-in calling for the reinstatement of president Mohamed Morsi. He was covering the event for Al-Jazeera, he says.
El-Shamy has still not been referred to court, though, with the prosecution renewing his detention several times. He started his hunger strike on 21 January and Sultan started his soon after, on 26 January.