Egyptian MP Removed From COP27 Meeting About Jailed Hunger Striker

An Egyptian MP was removed from a news conference at the UN’s COP27 climate summit after heckling speaker Sanaa Seif, sister of imprisoned British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, on Tuesday, November 8.

On Sunday, as world leaders gathered in Egypt for the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, British-Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah announced he had stopped drinking water, in protest against his years-long detention by Egyptian authorities on charges of spreading disinformation.

Abd el-Fattah has been imprisoned for most of the past decade, and began a partial hunger strike to protest his arrest and sentencing in April.

Relatives and concerned observers fear he could die within days and are demanding his immediate release.

Abd el-Fattah’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was speaking at an event at COP27 to bring international attention to his plight, and that of thousands of other Egyptian political prisoners on Tuesday, when Egyptian MP Amr Darwish stood up and started shouting at Seif.

Darwish spoke in Arabic as he questioned why the family describes Abd el-Fattah as a political prisoner and accused his family of resorting to foreign pressure to attack the Egyptian military.

Footage posted by journalist Jack Shenker on Twitter shows Darwish being escorted away by UN security as he waved his finger in their face, saying: “You are here on Egyptian land, don’t touch me.”

Several world leaders have said they have asked the Egyptian authorities to release Abd el-Fattah. The UK government has said it is pushing for him to be freed.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk expressed regret that the Egyptian authorities had not yet released Abd el-Fattah. Credit: Jack Shenker via Storyful

Video transcript

- Freedom of speech. Freedom of speech. Freedom of speech.

- I am here. I am here. I am talking to her. She says that we are from the Egyptian authority. You are not from the Egyptian authority. No, don't touch me. I am the Egyptian government. No, no, no, no, no, no, you don't-- you are here in the Egyptian land.

You are here in the Egyptian land. Don't touch me. You are here in the Egyptian land, OK. I will said-- I-- I ask her a question. She should answer me.

[CHATTER]

OK, she said that you are from the Egyptian authority. You are not from the Egyptian authority.

- That's fine, sir.

- OK.

[CHATTER]

- He wasn't scared.

I said, I want to-- to listen to their answer.

- That's fine.

- Freedom of speech.

- Thank you.

- Freedom of speech.

- I am sitting. I am sitting [INAUDIBLE]. No, I-- I am here. I am here. I am talking to her. She says that we are from this region. You are not from the Egyptian authority. No, don't touch me. I am Egyptian government.

No, no, no, no, no, no, you don't-- you are-- are here in the Egyptian land. You are here in the Egyptian land. Don't touch me. You are here in the Egyptian land, OK. I will said-- I ask her a question. She should answer me.

[CHATTER]

OK, she said that you are from the Egyptian authority. You are not from the Egyptian authority.

- That's fine, sir. Let's just, [INAUDIBLE].

And he [INAUDIBLE]. He wasn't scared.

I-- I said I want to-- to listen to their answer.

- That's fine.