RFK Human Rights Renews Calls for Ahmed Samir Santawy’s Release

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights condemns the continued imprisonment of Ahmed Samir Santawy, a 29-year-old graduate student of Central European University, who has been convicted by the Emergency Supreme State Security Court on unfounded charges of “publishing false news from outside the country about internal affairs” and sentenced to imprisonment for four years. We co-filed a petition before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in April 2021 on behalf of Mr. Santawy.

In protest against his unjust conviction, Mr. Santawy went on a hunger strike on June 23, 2021, and two weeks into his strike, he was admitted to the prison hospital because his health deteriorated significantly. Under Egypt’s emergency law and in violation of international human rights law, the decisions of the Emergency Supreme State Security Court are final and cannot be appealed.

In response to Mr. Santawy’s conviction and rapidly declining health due to his hunger strike, we filed an update to our petition urging the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to immediately:

Expedite our petition on behalf of Ahmed Samir Santawy and issue a favourable opinion;

Investigate the violations of Egypt’s obligations under international law in its conviction and continued detention of Mr. Santawy;

Call for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to quash Mr. Santawy’s conviction on these unfounded charges; and

Request that the Government of Egypt take steps to ensure that Mr. Santawy returns to his academic career in accordance with the government’s obligations under regional and international human rights law.