Seven defendants that were arrested but later released for protesting outside the Shura Council in November 2013, announced an open hunger strike in solidarity with three detainees still in custody on the same trial.
The announcement was made during their sit-in that was initiated Sunday in the National Council for Human Rights.
In the trial, 25 defendants were sentenced in absentia to 15 years, handed an EGP 100,000 fine and put under surveillance for a period of five years. They were found guilty of violating the Protest Law issued by former president Adly Mansour in November 2013.
Out of the original 25 defendants, three, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Hamada Al-Nubi and Wael Metwalli, remain in custody.
Their most recent trial was postponed to 10 September.
They were charged with demonstrating against military trials for civilians outside the Shura Council, acquiring weapons during the protest, illegal assembly, and attacking a police officer and stealing his radio.
The aim of the hunger strike and sit-in is to pressurise for the abolition of the Protest Law and its provisions. The strike also calls for the immediate release of all political detainees without classification, according to Mamdouh Gamal, one of the hunger strikers and a defendant in the trial.
Gamal said only 7 of the 22 released detainees are on hunger strike and joined the sit-in. The rest are waiting for the demands to be met and will join later on if they are not. He added that “we will continue the hunger strike and continue the escalation until our demands are met.”
Freedom for the Brave, an initiative providing support for detainees, held a press conference Sunday to announce its solidarity with all the political detainees.
According to a Sunday statement by the initiative, the number of hunger striking detainees has reached 59 people. This includes Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Soltan, who has been on hunger strike for over 225 days.
The statement also said that more than 30 people are on a hunger strike outside prison in solidarity with political detainees.
Khaled Abdel Hamid, a Freedom for the Brave member, said: “We believe that it’s the only way detainees can get their freedom.”
Earlier in September, Freedom of the Brave said that the Ministry of Interior threatened 34 detainees with tear gas if they insisted on continuing their hunger strike.