The family of jailed British-Egyptian writer and pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah say they have received confirmation that he is still alive.
Concerns grew after he stepped up his hunger strike and stopped drinking water to protest his treatment by Egyptian authorities.
Prison officials last week refused to allow the family’s lawyer to visit him after authorities told his mother they had performed an unspecified medical intervention.
However, on Monday his sister Sanaa Seif tweeted: “Relieved. We just received a message from the prison to my mother, Alaa is alive, he says that since November 12 he is drinking water again.
“He says he will say more as soon as he can. It’s definitely his handwriting. Proof of life, finally. Why did they keep it a secret from us for two days?”
Abd el-Fattah escalated his protest to coincide with the start of the Cop27 climate change summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the hope of drawing world attention to his plight.
He spent most of the last decade in prison and is serving a five-year sentence on charges of spreading fake news for retweeting a report in 2019 that another inmate had died in custody.
For the past six months, he has been on a partial hunger strike, eating only 100 calories a day.
Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday that the government was “very, very closely monitoring” his case.
“This is a case that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has initiated for a number of years in support of him. Egyptians do not recognize him as a British citizen,” he said. “We do not agree with them on that and we have highlighted this disagreement to them at all levels, including the Prime Minister, in his talks with President Sisi.”