Today's inhumane ruling by the Egyptian Emergency State Security Misdemeanors Court is a mockery of justice. The Court sentenced CEU Masters student Ahmed Samir Santawy to three years in prison on charges of "spreading false news." This verdict comes less than five months after the original sentence in Ahmed's case was quashed on February 16, 2022 and a retrial announced. It is clear now that this was purely a strategic move to quell ongoing protests against Ahmed's illegal detention. Today – Ahmed's 31st birthday – should have been a day of freedom and celebration, instead his cruel imprisonment continues.
Following his arrest over a year ago, on February 1, 2021, Ahmed was beaten and blindfolded while undergoing interrogation over his research. Five days later, on February 6, 2021, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered his detention pending investigations into "terrorism-related charges". On June 22, 2021, after an emergency court sentenced him to four years' imprisonment for publishing "false news", Ahmed went on hunger strike for 40 days to protest the ruling.
Jailed for exercising his freedom of opinion and expression as a researcher and as a private citizen, Ahmed Samir Santawy is a prisoner of conscience. According to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Ahmed has been detained arbitrarily for more than a year in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We call upon the Egyptian government to act upon the UN Working Group's findings, and release Ahmed immediately. We thank all institutions of higher education, students' associations, and colleagues in Austria, Europe, the US, and around the world who have campaigned tirelessly with CEU for Ahmed's release. We call upon all governments and intergovernmental organizations which value human rights and academic freedom to continue to campaign with us for Ahmed's immediate and unconditional release.
We will not be silenced. We will never give up the fight for his release.