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On behalf of all Higher Education Students in Austria we express our grave concern for the life and safety of Mr Ahmed Samir Abdelhay Ali, a graduate student of the Central European University in Vienna. According to reports he was arrested in Cairo on February 1st, 2021.
We therefore urge the Egyptian Government to intervene and ensure the unconditional release of Ahmed Samir Abdelhay Ali, to allow his return to Austria for the continuation of his studies.
As it is our understanding, Mr Samir returned to Egypt for a family visit in December 2020 and was interrogated at Sharm Elsheikh International Airport for three hours upon his arrival. After his parents’ house had been searched by the National Security Agency on January 23rd, 2021, he was instructed to appear at the Fifth Settlement police station on January 30th. Having followed the aforementioned instructions, he was told to return the following day, February 1st, 2021. Subsequently, he disappeared for 5 days. According to reports, he was arrested and interrogated by police officers for several hours without legal representation at an undisclosed location.
Over the course of 5 days, he was reportedly subjected to physical abuse and torture. On Saturday, February 6th, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered his detention for 15 days pending police investigations. According to his lawyer, Mr Samir is being accused of “joining a terrorist group with prior knowledge of its objectives, broadcasting false news aimed at disrupting security and public order, and using an account on Facebook for the purpose of spreading false news”.
In the absence of any evidence that may clarify our understanding of these events, the facts as described above suggest that Mr Samir's detention violates his rights to freedom of speech and expression as protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Right.
on 11 Feb 2021
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