Creating new perspectives since 2009

#FreeSanaa campaign demands justice ahead of film editor’s verdict

March 17, 2021 at 10:26 am

Jailed Egyptian sibling activists Alaa Abdel Fattah (2nd L) and Sanaa Seif (R) gesture after they were granted permission by authorities to attend the funeral of their father, prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif el-Islam, in Cairo on 28 August 2014. [HASAN MOHAMED/AFP via Getty Images]

Political prisoner Sanaa Seif is expected to be sentenced today, nine months after she was abducted from the street after trying to deliver a letter to her brother who is also in jail.

On 21 June Sanaa slept outside the prison where prominent revolutionary Alaa Abdelfattah is being held along with their sister Mona and mother Laila Soueif, in a bid to get past tightened measures on prisoners imposed during the coronavirus crisis.

The next day a group of female beltagiya attacked the three women and stole their possessions. When Sanaa went to file a complaint with the attorney general she was abducted on the street outside in a white van.

Sanaa worked as a film editor on the Oscar nominated documentary, The Square, and the award-winning, In the last days of the city.

Egypt: Female doctor pushed to her death from balcony after receiving male visitor

In August last year over 200 actors, authors and journalists signed a statement demanding justice and freedom for Sanaa Seif and called on Egyptian authorities to release her. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, author Phillip Pullman, and artist Anish Kapoor joined the call.

Sanaa was accused of “spreading false news” and “inciting terror crimes.”

Pressure is rising on Egypt after last week 31 UN member states joined together at the UN Human Rights Council to oppose the Egyptian government’s repression and abuses.

The joint declaration condemned the widespread use of counter terror laws to punish peaceful dissidents and highlighted “restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, [and] the constrained space for civil society and political opposition.”

Now, 226 days on from Sanaa’s detention, people around the world are hoping that today that she will be released.

“Thousands are hoping that tomorrow, when it pronounces its sentence, the court will do what a court should: recognise the absurdity of the charges against her and rule accordingly,” wrote Ahdaf Soueif on Twitter.

Update: Sanaa Seif was sentenced to one and a half years in Al-Qanater women’s prison