The rector of the Central European University (CEU) has called for the immediate release of a CEU student who was given a three-year sentence for “spreading false news” by an Egypt court on 4 July, describing the latest development as a “mockery of justice”.
Ahmed Samir Santawy, a masters student in sociology and anthropology based at CEU’s Vienna campus, was arrested on 1 February 2021 while on a trip to Egypt to visit family. According to Amnesty International, Santawy was beaten and blindfolded for five days while undergoing interrogation over his research, which is focused on women’s reproductive rights.
Five days after his arrest, the Supreme State Security prosecution reportedly ordered his detention pending investigations into “terrorism-related charges”.
Monday’s sentence comes less than five months after the original sentence in Ahmed’s case – a four-year term from an emergency court delivered on 22 June 2021 – was quashed on 16 February 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,” CEU rector Shalini Randeria said of the latest developments in a press statement.
In separate statements, both Randeria and the Global Student Forum described the new sentence by the Egyptian Emergency State Security Misdemeanours Court as a “mockery of justice”.