To mark the birthday (17 November) of political prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fattah, we release this footage of a powerful speech given in Trafalgar Square last Saturday by British-Egyptian actor and activist Khalid Abdalla.

In front of a large crowd attending a Climate Justice March during COP27, Khalid spoke about Alaa’s incarceration by the Egyptian government, and read passages from Alaa’s book “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated”.

Alaa Ad El-Fattah was sentenced to 5 years in prison last December after exposing torture of Egyptian prisoners in a Facebook post. He began a hunger strike six months ago, taking in only 100 calories a day, and at the start of the COP27 climate conference held in Egypt, he announced he would stop taking water.

At the time of Khalid’s speech, Alaa’s supporters and family were in the dark over his welfare, and they suspected the Egyptian authorities might be force-feeding him to keep him alive during COP, or that even his unannounced death was a possibility.

On Monday, a short hand-written note was passed to Alaa’s sister Sanaa, telling her that he had broken his strike, and today, his 41st birthday, she was finally allowed to make a short visit, reporting that his health has deteriorated dramatically.

In a longer statement released this evening, the family have described the harrowing events of the past two weeks, but also acknowledged the incredible solidarity shown around the world:

We hope that the incredible global attention on Alaa’s case and the tens of thousands of people who are now standing by him will lead to his release. Alaa came close to death inside, but decided to reach for life. He will have no choice but to resume his hunger strike imminently if there continues to be no real movement on his case.”