ISA Statement Regarding the Arrest and Detention of CEU Master’s Student in Egypt

The International Studies Association, the largest association of scholars of international relations in the world, denounces the arbitrary detention on February 1, 2021 of Ahmed Samir Abdelhay Ali, an Egyptian national enrolled in a graduate program in Sociology/Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Vienna, Austria. Ahmed was interrogated by the Egyptian authorities at the Sharm El Sheikh International Airport upon returning to Egypt for family reasons. When he presented himself as requested to Cairo police, he was arrested, physically assaulted, held incommunicado and is now in detention. It is believed that Ahmed has been detained in relation to his research on reproductive rights in Egypt. ISA notes with extreme concern a systematic pattern on the part of the Egyptian Government of arrest and/or detention of students and scholars as well as its disregard for the principle of academic freedom. ISA urges the Egyptian government in the strongest possible terms to release Ahmed Samir Abdelhay Ali immediately.

For further information about ISA’s deliberative processes on academic freedom concerns and the committee’s mandate from the Governing Council, please see:


Helen V. Milner, President, International Studies Association
Mark Boyer, ISA Executive Director
Erin Kristin Jenne, Chair, ISA Academic Freedom Committee