Today marks the first anniversary of Ahmed Samir Santawy’s arrest and the fourth postponement of Patrick George Zaki’s trial by the Emergency State Security Court. Both postgraduate students have been arbitrarily arrested and charged in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and academic freedom.
Join SAR in calling on Egyptian authorities to take any available actions to secure the unconditional release of both Mr. Santawy and Mr. Zaki and allow both of them to fly back to Austria and Italy, respectively, so they may resume their education.
- Action for Ahmed Samir Santawy
- Action for Patrick George Zaki
- Sign SAR’s letter of appeal.
- Tweet at your government officials to raise Mr. Zaki’s case with their Egyptian counterparts to #FreePatrick.
- Write to your government officials to raise Mr. Zaki’s case with their Egyptian counterparts to take any available action to drop all charges against Mr. Zaki, secure his unconditional release, and allow Mr. Zaki to fly back to Bologna so he may complete his Master’s program.
At Central European University (CEU) in Vienna, Austria, Mr. Santawy is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology, with a focus on women’s rights in Egypt, in particular, reproductive rights. On February 1, 2021, Mr. Santawy was arrested by Egyptian authorities. On June 22, 2021, the State Security Emergency Misdemeanor Court sentenced Mr. Santawy to four years in prison and a fine of 500 pounds for publishing “false news.” The conviction is reportedly based on social media posts critical of Egypt’s violations of human rights, which Mr. Santawy has denied writing. Verdicts given by State Security Emergency Courts cannot be appealed.
At the University of Bologna, Italy, Mr. Zaki is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies. In addition to his university studies, Mr. Zaki conducts research and advocacy on gender issues and human rights for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a human rights organization based in Cairo. On February 7, 2020, Mr. Zaki was arrested by Egyptian authorities and held in pretrial detention for 19 months. On September 13, 2021, the State Security Supreme Prosecution indicted Mr. Zaki with a charge of “spreading false news inside and outside of the country,” based on an article Mr. Zaki wrote about his experiences as a Coptic Egyptian. On December 7, the Second Division Mansoura Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court ordered the release of Mr. Zaki pending trial. On February 1, 2022, the Emergency State Security Court postponed Mr. Zaki’s trial to April 6, 2022.