A growing global chorus of human rights organizations, Nobel Prize winners, and climate champions is calling on world leaders to pressure the Egyptian government to free dissident Alaa Abd el-Fattah—who is currently on a months-long hunger strike—and other political prisoners ahead of the COP27 summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, arguing that the fights for climate justice and democratic freedoms are inextricable.\r\n\r\nIn a letter to the head of the United Nations, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, and other key officials set to attend the climate talks starting Sunday, 15 Nobel Literature Prize winners demanded that the world leaders prioritize the \u0022many thousands of political prisoners held in Egypt\u0026#039;s prisons—most urgently, the Egyptian-British writer and philosopher, Alaa Abd el-Fattah, now six months into a hunger strike and at risk of death.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Unless political freedoms are defended, there will be no meaningful climate action. Not in Egypt, nor anywhere else.\u0022\r\n\r\nLast December, Abd el-Fattah was sentenced to five years in prison for spreading \u0022false news\u0022 after he shared a Facebook post highlighting the torture of another prisoner.\r\n\r\n\u0022We urge you to use the opportunity that is now in your hands to help those most vulnerable, not just to the rising seas, but those imprisoned and forgotten—specifically in the very country that has the privilege of hosting you,\u0022 the Nobel laureates wrote in their letter. \u0022A just transition cannot solely be concerned with bringing down emissions, but must seek a re-construction of the status quo away from exploitation and coercion.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022If the world\u0026#039;s leaders gather in Egypt and leave without even a word about the most vulnerable, then what hope can they have?\u0022 they added. \u0022If COP27 ends up a silent gathering, where no one risks speaking openly for fear of angering the COP presidency, then what future is it that will be being negotiated over?\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter was sent after Abd el-Fattah informed his family in a letter that he intends to stop drinking water beginning November 6, the first day of the climate summit in a country whose government is notorious for repressing dissent.\r\n\r\n\u0022I have decided to escalate, at the appropriate time, my struggle for my freedom and the freedom of all prisoners,\u0022 he wrote, sparking increasingly urgent calls for his immediate release.\r\n\r\nIn a social media post on Tuesday, author and climate advocate Naomi Klein asked, \u0022If international solidarity is too weak to save Alaa, what hope do we have of saving a habitable home?\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022With the lights flickering in so many democracies around the world,\u0022 Klein wrote in a column for The Intercept last month, \u0022the message activists should bring to the climate summit, whether they travel to Egypt or engage from afar, is simple: Unless political freedoms are defended, there will be no meaningful climate action. Not in Egypt, nor anywhere else. These issues are intertwined, as are our fates.\u0022\r\n\r\nRenowned environmentalist Bill McKibben similarly warned that the continued imprisonment of Abd el-Fattah \u0022will make a mockery of the climate talks.\u0022\r\n\r\nU.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister RishiSunak \u0022have the power to stop this,\u0022 McKibben wrote on Twitter. \u0022Intervene NOW.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRights groups have been sounding the alarm for weeks over Egypt\u0026#039;s crackdown on peaceful demonstrations ahead of the closely watched COP27 summit, a critical opportunity for world leaders to commit to more ambitious climate action as the devastating impacts of runaway warming become clearer by the day.\r\n\r\nIn a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted that \u0022Egypt is hosting COP27 following years of intensifying restrictions\u0026nbsp;on human rights and environmental groups in the country, amounting to one of the harshest government clampdowns in decades.\u0022\r\n\r\nRichard Pearshouse, HRW\u0026#039;s environment director, lamented that \u0022before delegations have set foot in Egypt, authorities have already shown their true colors by clamping down on any Egyptian who dares to call attention to the dire human rights situation in the country.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022In the days ahead, countries should make good on longstanding promises to prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change,\u0022 said Pearshouse. \u0022At the same time, they should reaffirm to Egypt\u0026#039;s government and other authoritarian administrations that independent environmental activism is indispensable for the robust climate policies the world so urgently needs.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Governments attending COP27 have a responsibility to call out Egypt\u0026#039;s rhetoric around tolerance and openness as what it is, empty and meaningless, and to urge Egyptian authorities to end rights restrictions,\u0022 he added.