Alaa Abd el-Fattah is arguably the most high-profile political prisoner in Egypt, if not the Arab world, rising to international prominence during the revolution of 2011. A fiercely independent thinker, writer and activist, he has spent most of the last decade in prison, and is now in a critical condition.
He began an open ended hunger strike on April 2nd, following two and half years of being held unjustly with no access to books, a radio, sunshine or exercise. Amongst his key demands is to be granted his right as a British citizen to receive a consular visit - thus far denied.
Speaking with Andrew Marr for the first time together in the UK will be Mona and Sanaa Seif, Alaa's sisters - both prominent activists themselves, and part of a family considered cornerstones of the struggle for human rights in Egypt. Held in partnership with Amnesty International UK, and English PEN, this is an urgent event.
You Have Not Yet Been Defeated a collection of Alaa's essays, social media posts and interviews from 2011 was published in 2021, with a foreword by Naomi Klein. The book presents not only a unique account from the frontline of a decade of global upheaval, but a catalogue of ideas about other futures those upheavals could yet reveal.
Andrew Marr is one of Britain's leading journalists. He worked as political editor of the BBC 2000-5, has hosted Start the Week from 2002-present and The Andrew Marr Show (2005-2021). He currently hosts his own radio show on LBC.
Alaa’s sister, Mona Seif, is a geneticist and an internationally-awarded human rights activist. She led the domestic Egyptian campaign against the use of military tribunals against civilians, for which she was recognised by the Martin Ennals Awards - often referred to as the Nobel of the human rights community. The daughter of a human rights lawyer and a mathematics professor, she has been compelled to campaign for her brother’s freedom for the bulk of the last decade. When Alaa is released, she plans to focus on her PhD, an investigation into particular genetic susceptibilities to cancer among Middle Eastern and North African women.
Sanaa Seif is a human rights defender, who was actively involved in the peaceful demonstrations during the Egyptian revolution in 2011. She consistently calls for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders and political prisoners in Egypt, and her work also focuses on promoting social and economic rights in Egypt. When she was 17 years old, Sanaa Seif and a group of friends launched the independent newspaper "Al-gornal", to address the issues at the heart of the Arab Spring. She is also the sister of woman human rights defender Mona Seif and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah.