Egypt: Researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy sentenced to 3 years in prison because of his women’s rights work
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: 4 July 2022
Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court on Monday issued a new ruling to imprison researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy for three years on charges of spreading false news, after annulling a previous ruling of 4 years in prison and a fine. Santawy has been arbitrarily detained solely for his academic work on women’s rights.
On February 21, the Judgments Certification Committee decided to cancel the first ruling and retry the Egyptian researcher before a different judicial body, after approving a memorandum submitted by his lawyer.
Prior to his detention, Santawy was a graduate student in anthropology at the Central European University in Vienna. On January 23, 2021, seven masked and armed policemen raided his family’s home but did not find him there. Then they asked his family to bring him to the National Security agency without explaining the reasons for that.
On February 1, Santawy went to the National Security agency at the Fifth Settlement Police Station, where he was detained and forcibly disappeared until February 6, amid confirmed reports that he had been beaten and slapped in the face while he was handcuffed and blindfolded.
The Public Prosecution charged Santawy with: belonging to a terrorist group, spreading false news, and using a social media account to spread false news. On February 23, another prosecutor informed him in a separate session that he was also under investigation for financing a terrorist organization, based on an NSA investigation file that he and his lawyer were not allowed to see, as well as social media posts he denied he wrote.
It is worth noting that Santawy is imprisoned in connection with another case on similar charges, and the investigation began with him in the second case only one day after he was assaulted by the deputy warden of Liman Tora prison.
The case of Santawy is available in detail on the Justice Watch Archive, which is the first and largest free information platform about violations in Egypt, launched by CFJ to be available to all researchers and legal specialists in the field of human rights.