Update 07/07/21: Ahmed was sentenced to 4 years in prison for publishing “false news.” His conviction is based only on social media posts criticising human rights abuses. He has been on hunger strike since 23 June. Now, more than ever, Ahmed must be released. 

29-year-old researcher and anthropology student Ahmed Samir Santawy, was arrested on 1 February and disappeared for 5 days, whilst police officers beat him and kept him blindfolded. 

Ahmed is a master’s student, whose research focuses on women's rights, including the history of reproductive rights in Egypt. The accusations against him are based solely on a Facebook post deemed critical of the authorities (which he denies authoring) and a secret police investigation which he and his lawyers are not allowed to review. 

In recent years, thousands of real or perceived political opponents have been arrested and kept in prolonged pre-trial detention in Egypt, pending investigations into unfounded terrorism-related and other charges. Those targeted include human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, politicians, protesters, journalists, medical workers and academics.

Ahmed has been denied contact with lawyers and his family, and there are serious concerns about his wellbeing and health amid COVID-19 outbreaks in Egypt’s prisons.

Amnesty International considers Ahmed a prisoner of conscience, detained only because of his academic interests and research focusing on gender and religion. 

Sign the petition calling on the Public Prosecutor to release Ahmed immediately.




Sign the Petition

  Our Petition
President Abdelfattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace 
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egpyt

Your Excellency, 

I am deeply concerned about researcher and anthropolgy student Ahmed Samir Santawy, who started a hunger strike on 23 June in protest over his unfair conviction by an Emergency State Security Court. He was convicted of publishing "false news to undermine the state, its national interests and public orders and spread panic among the people" and sentenced to four years imprisonment on the basis of social media posts criticizing human rights violations in Egyptian prisons and that state's mishandling of the pandemic. He has denied writing the posts, but regardless of the author, criminalising the dissemination of information based on vague concepts such as "false news" is contary to the right to freedom of expression. I therefore ask you to quash the verdict against Ahmed Sami Santawy, release him immediately and unconditionally, and ensure that the investigations into unfounded terrorism-related accusations against hum are dropped. Pending his release, I urge you to instruct the Minister of Interior to ensure that he has regular access to his family, lawyers, and adquate healthcare, including in hospitals outside prison, as required. 

Yours sincerely,