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Sanaa Seif abducted and placed in preventive detention

Status: 
Detained
About the situation

On 17 September 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo rescheduled the hearing session of woman human rights defender Sanna Seif to 11 October 2020.

On 9 August 2020, woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif was interrogated by the State Public Prosecution, without the presence of her lawyer. The State Public Prosecution issued her with two additional charges; ‘verbally insulting a police officer during his duty’ and ‘defaming a police officer’.

On 8 July 2020, the family of woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif was informed that on 5 July 2020, the Public Prosecution renewed the preventive detention of Sanaa Seif for an additional 15 days.

On 23 June 2020, several plain clothed Security Force officers abducted woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif in front of the Prosecutor General’s office in the Rehab district of Cairo. She was returned to the Public Prosecutor’s office an hour and a half later.

 

About Sanaa Seif

Sanaa SeifSanaa Seif is a human rights defender, who was actively involved in the peaceful demonstrations during the Egyptian revolution in 2011. She consistently calls for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders and political prisoners in Egypt, and her work also focuses on promoting social and economic rights in Egypt. When she was 17 years old, Sanaa Seif and a group of friends launched the independent newspaper "Al-gornal", to address the issues at the heart of the Arab Spring. She is also the sister of woman human rights defender Mona Seif and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah.

18 September 2020
Sanaa Seif’s hearing rescheduled

On 17 September 2020, the Criminal Court of Cairo rescheduled the hearing session of woman human rights defender Sanna Seif to 11 October 2020. According to her family, the court has accepted the defence’s requests to analyse camera footage in front of the Prosecutor General’s office, where Sanaa Seif was abducted on 23 June 2020, as well as in front of Tora prison, where her mother and sister were physically assaulted the day previous.

Sanaa Seif was arrested shortly after her abduction on 23 June 2020. She is facing charges of “spreading false rumours”, “inciting terrorist crimes” and “the misuse of social media”.

10 August 2020
Sanaa Seif receives two additional charges

On 9 August 2020, woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif was interrogated by the State Public Prosecution, without the presence of her lawyer.

The State Public Prosecution issued Sanaa Seif with two additional charges; ‘verbally insulting a police officer during his duty’ and ‘defaming a police officer’. The woman human rights defender is already facing charges of 'spreading false rumours', 'inciting terrorist crimes' and 'misuse of social media'.

On 23 June 2020, Sanaa Seif was abducted and placed in preventive detention for 15 days, which has been renewed every 15 days since.

10 July 2020
Renewal of preventive detention of Sanaa Seif in absentia

On 8 July 2020, the family of woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif was informed that on 5 July 2020, the Public Prosecution renewed the preventive detention of Sanaa Seif for an additional 15 days.

The renewal occurred without the presence of Sanaa Seif, her lawyer or her family, nor were they informed in advance that it was due to be renewed.

24 June 2020
Sanaa Seif abducted and placed in preventive detention

On 23 June 2020, several plain clothed Security Force officers abducted woman human rights defender Sanaa Seif in front of the Prosecutor General’s office in the Rehab district of Cairo. She was returned to the Public Prosecutor’s office an hour and a half later.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Sanaa Seif is a human rights defender, who was actively involved in the peaceful demonstrations during the Egyptian revolution in 2011. She consistently calls for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders and political prisoners in Egypt, and her work also focuses on promoting social and economic rights in Egypt. When she was 17 years old, Sanaa Seif and a group of friends launched the independent newspaper "Al-gornal", to address the issues at the heart of the Arab Spring. She is also the sister of woman human rights defender Mona Seif and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah.

On 22 June 2020, Sanaa Seif, her sister Mona Seif and their mother, human rights defender Lila Soueif, were physically assaulted and robbed by unidentified women in front of Tora prison. Sana Seif, her sister and mother had been presenting themselves at the police station for a number of days, on the promise by the prison authorities that they would be given a letter from their imprisoned brother and son, Alaa Abd El Fattah. The family have not heard from him since March 2020 when family visits were suspended in the context of COVID-19. The physical assault occurred in front of several police men, however they did not intervene in the incident. Sanaa Seif suffered serious bruising as a result of the attack.

On 23 June 2020, the three women went with their lawyers to the office of the Public Prosecutor to file a complaint regarding the incident the previous day in front of Tora prison. Sanaa Seif and her lawyer were stopped at the entrance to the building and asked to show their ID. Upon presenting their ID cards, Sanaa Seif’s lawyer was pushed aside and the woman human rights defender was forced into an unmarked van, which drove away and was followed by three unmarked cars. Sanaa Seif was taken to an unknown location and was then brought back to the office of the Public Prosecutor about an hour and a half later.

She was then interrogated by the State Security Prosecutor and following this, sentenced to 15 days in preventive detention on charges of spreading false rumours, inciting terrorist crimes and misuse of social media. That same day, the Public Prosecution released a statement, which linked the charges against Sanaa Seif to her social media posts, where she advocated for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders and political activists in the context of COVID-19.

Sanaa Seif and her family have been repeatedly harassed by the Egyptian authorities in recent years regarding their human rights activities. In 2016, Sanaa Seif was imprisoned for six months, whilst her brother, activist Alaa Abd El Fattah has been in arbitrary detention since September 2019.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the continual harassment of woman human rights defender Sanna Seif and her family members. Front Line Defenders believes that Sanaa Seif was abducted and detained in reprisal for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.