Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, a key figure in the country’s 2011 revolution, has obtained British citizenship from inside prison, his family said Monday.
The family has appealed to British authorities to seek consular access to visit him in jail.
Abdel Fattah, along with his sisters Mona and Sanaa, gained UK citizenship through their mother, maths professor Laila Soueif, who was born in London in 1965.
As a British citizen, Abdel Fattah also requests he be allowed to communicate with the family's lawyers in the UK "so that they can take all possible legal measures regarding not only the violations he has been subjected to, but all the crimes against humanity he has witnessed during his imprisonment," according to a statement released by Abdel Fattah's sisters.
The news comes 10 days into a hunger strike which Abdel Fattah began on April 2, the first day of Ramadan, in protest at his prison conditions, according to his sister Mona Seif.
"For two and a half years, he has been kept in a cell without sunlight, with no books, no exercise. His visitations have been cut to one family member, for 20 minutes a month, through glass, with not a moment of privacy or contact," the statement said.
Egypt has released several political prisoners who hold a second nationality in recent years.
Abdel Fattah was sentenced in December to five years in prison after he was convicted along with two others of "broadcasting false news".
He had already been in pre-trial detention in Cairo's Tora prison since September 2019.
Abdel Fattah has spent much of the past decade behind bars, having also been arrested under former presidents Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in the revolution, and Mohammed Morsi.
Rights groups say Egypt is holding a total of some 60,000 political prisoners, many facing brutal conditions and overcrowded cells.