Aisha Al-Shater has been in hospital for a week after her health seriously deteriorated following a second hunger strike in protest against her prison conditions.
The daughter of top Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al-Shater was arrested in November 2018 and forcibly disappeared for 28 days before appearing in Al-Qanater women’s prison. She was one of 19 human rights activists arrested that night.
Aisha first went on hunger strike in mid-August to protest against the fact that her family, including her children, were not allowed to visit her, which is against Egyptian law, and that she was being kept in solitary confinement.
During a court hearing in June Aisha said she was using her pocket as a toilet because she had no access to a toilet or a shower and was not being provided with sanitary products.
The rights organisation We Record has documented the deterioration of Aisha’s health in prison where she has been exposed to electric shocks and wears thin prison clothes despite the cold.
In early September Aisha was transferred to Al-Qanater Prison Hospital. Prison authorities tried to persuade her to end her strike by offering to allow her children to visit, take her out of solitary confinement and give her more time out of her cell.
She agreed, but when the concessions did not materialise she resumed her hunger strike. She has now been in hospital for a week after her health deteriorated once again.
Like most members of the opposition, Aisha has been accused of a vast array of terror charges, yet We Record has said that her detention is unfounded and should be considered in the context of the Sisi regime’s ongoing repression of women.
“There are no legitimate penal reasons for such practices by the Egyptian authorities other than its desire to punish women prisoners and destroy their morale.”
The Egyptian government has arrested a number of women, including 83 in the month of September alone, which marks a different policy from previous regimes which saw women as a red line.
Since July 2013 the Egyptian government has arrested 2,762 women, 125 of which are currently imprisoned.