So many people are sentenced and disappeared in Egypt, it’s a blur – yet the international community stays silent

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Iwant a letter. This was the simple request written on a piece of paper by Laila Soueif, 64, an Egyptian professor and life-long human rights activist as she sat on the curb that licks around the blistering crucible that is the entrance to Cairo’s notorious Tora prison.

The small and innocuous demand to hear from her jailed son Alaa Abdel-Fattah, 38, a software engineer and leading voice of the 2011 revolution, was too much for the Egyptian authorities.

Egypt had halted all prison visits since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March. It has worried many families, particularly as the Geneva-based Committee for Justice reported that there have been Covid-19 cases present in nearly 30 detention centres across 10 governorates, including Tora prison.

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