The possibility a British-Egyptian pro-democracy activist on hunger strike could die while the COP27 summit takes place is “a terrifying prospect”, a friend and star of The Crown has said.
Khalid Abdalla, who plays Dodi Fayed in the hit Netflix show, said he wanted to be on the “right side of history” in speaking up for Alaa Abd El-Fattah.
The 40-year-old pro-democracy writer and activist has been kept behind bars in Egypt for most of the past decade.
In December last year, El-Fattah was sentenced to five years in prison, after being accused of spreading fake news.
“The actual reason technically for him being in prison is for sharing a Facebook post, it’s completely absurd,” Abdalla told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“A Facebook post about the torture of a fellow prisoner.
“Right now we’re facing the possibility of his death in the coming days before COP27 ends. It’s a terrifying prospect.”
He added: “All 120 world leaders are descending on Sharm el-Sheikh right now. If all of them can’t result in Alaa being released from prison, then what hope have we got of saving the climate?”
It comes as one of El-Fattah’s sisters arrived in the Egyptian resort to pile more pressure on Rishi Sunak.
Sanaa Seif told reporters: “I’m here to do my best to try and shed light on my brother’s case and to save him.
“I’m really worried. I’m here to put pressure on all leaders coming, especially Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.”
The family, who had recently been leading a sit-in outside the British Foreign Office in London, held a vigil on Sunday at Downing Street.
And last week they spoke to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Lord Tariq Ahmad, North Africa minister, about the case.
El-Fattah’s second sister Mona Seif has said her brother will be escalating his hunger strike in prison, including a water strike as COP27 takes place.
“Alaa is not desperate to die,” she said.
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“These are the actions of a man desperate to end this ordeal he has been sucked into for nine years and desperate to be reunited with his family.
“We honestly believe that if Alaa doesn’t make it while COP is taking place in Egypt, if Alaa is not freed by that point, Alaa is going to die in prison.”
Tens of thousands of government critics, including journalists, environmental groups, and human rights defenders, are imprisoned in Egypt on “terrorism” charges, according to Human Rights Watch.