Egypt Thinking with Alaa | | Mada Masr
Software developer and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah has been imprisoned in the Maximum Security Wing 2 of the Tora Prison Complex for the last three months. He was arrested by national security agents on the morning of September 29 as he was leaving Dokki Police Station where he had been forced to spend 12 hours every night — from 6 pm to 6 am — as part of his probation since his release from prison at the end of March after serving a five-year sentence.
Alaa is being held in remand detention on charges of belonging to an illegal organization and spreading false information. His detention is renewed by the State Security Prosecution every 15 days.
The conditions of Alaa’s current imprisonment are the worst of his multiple detentions dating back to 2006. He has no access to reading materials, sunlight, or clean water. All visitations are conducted through a glass barrier and he has no physical contact with his family.
At his most recent detention renewal hearing on December 9, Alaa addressed State Security Prosecution and spoke out about the conditions of his detention. In his remarks, he made historical references to the Egyptian state’s ascent to modernity and its relation to the written word.
Mada Masr asked historian Khaled Fahmy, a professor of modern Arabic studies at Cambridge University and the author of four books on the social and cultural history of nineteenth-century Egypt, to critically engage and reflect on Alaa’s remarks.
The following are Alaa’s remarks in full followed by Khaled Fahmy’s text.