SHAFAQNA – A leading Egyptian activist who has been on hunger strike for more than a month to protest his imprisonment was transferred to hospital after his health deteriorated sharply, his family said. Ahmed Douma — one of the icons of Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak — is serving a three-year prison sentence for violating a law banning street protests without police permits. He launched the hunger strike along with scores of other imprisoned activists to protest the law and harsh sentences on violators. Douma’s wife, Nourhan Hefzy, said he was taken to hospital on Saturday but that authorities barred her from visiting him or obtaining updates on his condition.
She posted on her Facebook page a petition signed by more than 30 physicians testifying that Douma is “risking death” and that he suffers from severe stomach pains and is frequently vomiting.
The law was enforced last year by a transitional government put in place after the military ousted Mubarak’s successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, following mass demonstrations demanding Morsi’s resignation.
It paved the way for the state to stifle dissent by secular-leaning activists who were imprisoned amid an ongoing crackdown that has mainly targeted Islamist supporters of Morsi. Hundreds were killed and thousands were imprisoned after most demonstrations descended into violence.
Morsi and many senior members of his Muslim Brotherhood movement have been jailed since last summer.