Dear fellow Wikimedians of the UK,
I am writing to you to bring to your attention the case of my friend and
fellow free knowledge activist, the British-Egyptian Alaa Abd El-Fattah,
currently wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt under trumped up charges. Alaa is
on his second month of hunger strike and *urgently needs UK consular
Alaa is a writer, an award-winning human rights blogger, a software
developer, anda proponent of open knowledge. He is being targeted by the
Egyptian regime for speaking up for democracy and freedom. He is father to
a ten-year-old sona and an Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience
<https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde12/2393/2020/en/>. He was
sentenced in December 2021 to 5 years in prison for resharing a Facebook
post about the deteriorating conditions in Egypt’s prisons.
Alaa has been subjected to torture and arbitrarily detained since September
2019. For two and a half years, he has been kept in a cell with no access
to books, newspapers or sunlight. He is not allowed a wristwatch to tell
the time of day, or exercise time outside his cell. His visits are limited
to one family member per month, for twenty minutes, through a glass
barrier, without a moment of privacy or physical contact.
Alaa is demanding his right to a visit from the British consulate, which is
yet to be secured since it was first requested in December 2021.
He began an open-ended hunger strike on April 2nd and his family fear for
The FCDO is fully aware of Alaa’s case, and his family have been liaising
directly with the British embassy in Cairo. However, I am extremely
concerned that things are not moving fast enough considering how
his situation is
the lack of progress in improving the conditions of his detention.
*I urge you to contact your MPs* *asking them to urgently write to Foreign
Secretary Liz Truss and ask what steps are being taken to address Alaa’s
wellbeing, ensure an immediate consular visit, and secure his release. *
*His family are also looking for MPs to table questions, submit EDMs and
host events in Westminster to raise Alaa's case. Please
contact freedomforalaa(a)gmail.com <freedomforalaa(a)gmail.com> if you are able
For more information on Alaa, I recommend the recent Washington Post
Editorial Board’s piece: “A voice of the Arab Spring is being wrongfully
detained. Let him go free.”
website freealaa.net contains more background on Alaa's situation.
Following is an appeal by Alaa's sister:
Last week, a report by Andrea Wallace, 'A Culture of Copyright: A
scoping study on open access to digital cultural heritage collections
in the UK', was published, examining UK GLAMs' claims of copyright on
reproductions of 2D works of art whose copyright has expired.
It's really well researched and written, and makes points which align
well with the Wikimedia movement's views on such Public Domain works.
The report (openly licensed and so naturally free to read) is here:
and there's a good blog post about it here:
I wrote to the Wikimedia UK membership on Saturday to outline some of the
activities that are taking place in relation to the terrible events in
Ukraine. In that email, I asked members to contact me if they are able to
offer accommodation for people seeking refuge from the war, and three
people have already been in touch. These offers are listed on this page
<https://uk.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4472720> and I've been in touch
with the Chair of Wikimedia Ukraine in case he is able to help connect us
Early on in the conflict, I signed CILIP's Statement of Solidarity
on behalf of Wikimedia UK in support of Librarian and Information
professionals across Ukraine. The Ukrainian Library Association responded
immediately, saying that “the support of the CILIP community, Government
and people of the UK is highly appreciated in Ukraine.”
As you will probably already know, the wider Wikimedia community has
self-organised extremely quickly to ensure that information related to the
conflict on Wikipedia is as accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive as
possible. In my email to the membership I highlighted the main meta page
Wikimedia's response to the invasion, as well as the meta page
outlining ways to get involved with the campaign to save Ukrainian’s
Thank you to everyone who is continuing to stand in solidarity with
Ukraine. If you have any suggestions for other things that Wikimedia UK
could be doing (within the bounds of our charitable remit), please do let
With warm wishes
Lucy Crompton-Reid (she/her)
We are currently recruiting for a part time (two days a week) Volunteer
Coordinator to join the Programmes and Evaluation team at Wikimedia UK. The
role has a particular focus on underrepresented groups, but will also
provide more general support to the UK volunteer community.
The post is fixed-term for a year, although we hope to raise funds to
extend the post beyond this timeframe.
The details are on wiki here
<https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Volunteer_Coordinator> and the closing date
is Wednesday 30th March. Please do share this with your networks or with
anyone you think might be interested and suitable!
With many thanks and best wishes
Lucy Crompton-Reid (she/her)