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Egypt: Court holds first session in the retrial of activist and researcher Ahmed Samir Santawi

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The Supreme State Security Misdemeanors Court on Monday June 6 held its first session in the retrial of the Egyptian activist and researcher, Ahmed Samir Santawy nearly three months after his four-year prison sentence was reversed. At the end of the session, the court set July 4 as the date for the verdict.

Arbitrary arrest and enforced disappearance

Santawy was arbitrarily arrested on February 1, 2021, by National Security officers, shortly after his arrival from Vienna, where he was a postgraduate student.

The researcher was subjected to enforced disappearance for five days, during which officers physically assaulted him and interrogated him about his academic work in the field of sexual and reproductive rights for women.

Charges related to spreading false news

On February 6, Santawy appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, where he was interrogated on terrorism-related charges, based on secret National Security investigations, which neither he nor his lawyer were allowed to see.

On May 22, 2021, the Supreme State Security Prosecution opened a new criminal investigation into Santawy because of comments on social media. On May 28, 2021, he was referred to trial on charges of “spreading false news that would undermine the prestige of the state and its national interests, disturb public security and sow terror among the people” in the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court – a special court that operates when a state of emergency is in effect, and whose judgements cannot be appealed.

The proceedings and violations of the investigation and trial in the case of Santawy can be viewed through the Justice Watch Archive, published by the Committee for Justice, and the developments of the case can be viewed through the Political Trials Calendar.

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