Egyptian hunger-striking activist drinking water

The family of Egypt's imprisoned hunger-striking activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah said Monday that he has started drinking water again.

The announcement came in a letter that the family received from Abdel-Fattah through the prison authorities on Monday. It was dated on Saturday.

Abdel-Fattah, one of Egypt's most prominent pro-democracy campaigners, had intensified his hunger strike at the start of the U.N. climate conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh earlier this month to draw attention to his case and those of other political prisoners.

He had stopped taking food earlier and then he also stopped drinking water. His health condition worsened, raising fears he could die in prison.

In a post on Twitter, one of Abdel-Fattah's sisters, Sanaa Souief, confirmed the letter was in her brother's handwriting.

Laila Soueif, Abdel-Fattah's mother, told The Associated Press that the letter did not mention his hunger strike, but the family's assumption was it was ongoing.

"He didn't ask for food," she said. "He asked for ... salts and vitamins."

Prison authorities had allowed Abdel-Fattah to communicate with his family through weekly letters. Monday's letter is the first proof of life the family received since he began refusing water eight days ago.

On Thursday, authorities said they "medically intervened" in Abdel-Fattah's case, without providing details and raising concerns that he was being force-fed. Abdel-Fattah's Lawyer, Khaled Ali, was twice blocked from visiting him in prison since news of the medical intervention was announced.

His hunger strike has become drawn unwanted attention to Egypt's heavy suppression of speech and political activity.

Since 2013, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government has cracked down on dissidents and critics, jailing thousands, virtually banning protests and monitoring social media.

Source: Associated Press

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