Five Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby members started a hunger strike on Tuesday demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners and the modification of the controversial Protest Law.
The party’s legal committee sent an official report to the general prosecutor with the names of the strikers, stating: “The report is holding the prosecution responsible for the health of the strikers.”
At a press conference in the Press Syndicate on Monday the party – alongside the Democratic Alliance for Civil Forces – demanded the release of prisoners charged with breaking the law.
Tens of activists and politicians have recently embarked on hunger strikes protesting the law and standing in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners.
On Tuesday the Revolutionary Socialists announced that five of their members have begun a hunger strike in solidarity with the detainees.
Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, lawyer Mahienour El-Massry and blogger Ahmed Douma among many others have received harsh sentences in different cases for violating the Protest Law, since it was introduced last November. They have also faced other charges including “thuggery and blocking roads” and heavy fines.
Abdel Fattah, El-Massry, and Douma are currently on open-ended hunger strikes to protest their detention.
Detained activist Sanaa Seif announced in August that she has begun an open-ended hunger strike.
Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American activist, has been on hunger strike for more that 210 days. He is one of 52 defendants on trial charged with “forming an operations room to direct the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group to defy the government during the Rabaa sit-in dispersal and to spread chaos in the country.”
Soltan has been detained since August 2013 for participating in the Brotherhood mass sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square and was shot in the arm during its forcible dispersal.
In solidarity with all political detainees, Freedom for the Brave, an initiative providing support for detainees, held a press conference to announce the increase of the number of hunger striking detainees has reached 59 people. More than 30 people are on hunger strike outside prison.
The controversial Protest Law is officially known as the Law to Regulate the Right to Public Meetings, requiring protesters to acquire approval from the police to stage a protest. The law also states that security forces must first use verbal warnings to disperse potential protests. If not, police forces have the right to use water cannons, tear gas, warning shots, and rubber bullets to disperse protests.
A lawsuit was filed on 17 June by the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR), an NGO directed by lawyer Khaled Ali. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of articles 8 and 10 of the Protest Law and demands the cancellation of the law.
A number of human rights organisations and political parties condemned the law as a tool to repress freedom of speech.
The Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights issued a report in June calling for the law to be revoked. International human rights watchdog Amnesty International said that many people have been arbitrarily arrested by security forces and held in deprivation of their rights.