It is over 2 months since Ahmed Samir, CEU master's student in the sociology and anthropology department, was arrested in Egypt. Charged by the Supreme State Security Prosecutor with belonging to and funding a terrorist organization, and spreading false news on social media, Ahmed is currently remanded in Cairo's notorious Liman Tora Prison. The prosecutor is unable to present any evidence to support these charges.
The campaign group FreeAhmedSamir, led by his family and friends, has been fighting for Ahmed's release since he was first reported as being detained. However as yet there is little movement from the Egyptian authorities.
Amnesty International, together with FreeAhmedSamir is staging a global day of protest on April 10, to draw attention to the case and to call for Ahmed's immediate release. In Vienna, the protest will take place as a sit-in, opposite the Cultural Office of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Elsewhere, in Berlin, Ghent, Budapest, Malmö, Bologna, Salzburg, Tunis and Beirut, similar protests will take place. Ahmed’s friends will be there, along with his supporters - those across the world who know only of Ahmed as a student imprisoned, like many others, facing so-called terrorism charges upon returning from abroad.
“We will do everything in our power to secure Ahmed’s release”
CEU Rector Michael Ignatieff has been in constant contact with the Austrian and American embassies in Cairo and believes that their representations to the Egyptian authorities have had some effect in improving his conditions. However, Ahmed still faces serious accusations, and the Rector has stated that CEU will do everything in its power to secure the student’s release.
Calling again on academics and students across the world to take up Ahmed's cause, Ignatieff thanked Amnesty International, alongside Scholars At Risk and many other human rights organisation around the world who have joined the fight to secure the student's release. Pointing to the Egyptian authorities' ongoing assault on academic freedom, he noted that there an important issue at stake here: "International students should be free to study in their home countries, safe from arrest and harassment."
Amnesty International Wien ask protesters to bring FFP-2 masks and mats, blankets or folding chairs and to at all times maintain the safety distance of 2 meters. Amnesty has also asked all those who are unable to attend a protest in person to post a solidarity photo on social media and to tag their local Egyptian embassy on April 10.