Egypt’s military-backed president Abdel Fatah el Sisi is trying to build a facade of democracy around his dictatorship with the opening of parliament due on 10 January. But his repression of all opposition continues.
An Egyptian court refused a second appeal against the 15 month jail sentences of three Revolutionary Socialists in Alexandria last on 27 December.
Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry, journalist Youssef Shaaban, and poet Loay Al-Kahwagi were accused of breaking into and damaging Al-Raml police station in Alexandria in 2013.
They had joined a sit in outside the police station in solidarity with lawyers attacked there by police when trying to represent their clients.
Human Rights organisations in Egypt and internationally denounced the jailing of the three prominent activists. Youssef was refused release on health grounds last year even though he is suffering from the Hepatitis C virus and has no access to medical treatment.
Mahienour was awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux award in 2014 for her work fighting for human rights.
Her sister reported from her last visit to Mahienour’s prison that prisoners have limited access to water and no ventilation. Mahienour reported that they are so crushed—28 women to a cell measuring five by six metres—that they have to sleep in shifts.
Activists in Egypt are calling for international solidarity to call for the release of all Egypt’s political prisoners.