Ahmed Samir Santawy is a master’s student at Central European University (Austria), whose research focuses on the history of female reproductive rights in Egypt.

Ahmed has been arrested by the Egyptian authorities in Cairo during a home visit on February 1 and was accused of “joining a terrorist organization”, “financing a terrorist organization” and “spreading false news on social media”. The allegations are unfounded and he is now in pre-trial detention, extended three times without legal representation. The case is dramatically similar to those of other international researchers and students persecuted and unjustly imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities, such as Patrick George Zaki and Walid al-Shobaky.

On April 10, while Ahmed has been sentenced to more than two months of preventive detention, the Free Ahmed Samir campaign, together with Amnesty International will organize protests and solidarity activities around the world, in Wien, Berlin, Ghent, Budapest, Malmö, Salzburg, Tunis and Beirut, on behalf of Ahmed’s family, friends and colleagues. Where anti-Covid regulations allow physical presence, protests will be held in public places. Protests for Ahmed have already been organized in February in Wien and in March in Brussels and Berlin.

Where physical manifestations are not allowed, politicians, activists, students and whoever wants to support the cause, are invited to post a photo in support of Ahmed, tagging the local Egyptian embassy. The campaign has already garnered the support of people from more than 15 countries around the world.

The Free Ahmed Samir campaign is carried out by several students calling for the release of Ahmed; it is led by four of his comrades and supported by over 70 volunteers. They are setting up actions together with Amnesty Austria and other local Amnesty offices and various activist groups.

Several human rights organizations, academic organizations and student associations have expressed their support for Ahmed. Amnesty International regards him as a prisoner of conscience and has launched a petition calling for his immediate release. Considering Ahmed’s detention an act against academic freedom, several world-renowned researchers have signed a petition condemning his treatment.

You can read more about Ahmed in English, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish here:


Translation by Roberta Mereu,  from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!