“Ahmed Samir returned to Egypt and arrested as Zaki. In the cell no mattress and hot water, but the guards’ beating”

June is the month of broken dreams and anniversaries that have passed in vain. Stories of boys, of the best Egyptian youth forced to pay for sins never committed and facing months, years of darkness and suffering. In a few days Patrick Zaki he will blow out his 30 candles locked in a fetid cell of the terrible prison of Tora, al Cairo; in the same days one of his compatriot and, to all intents and purposes, colleague, Ahmed Samir Santawy, imprisoned since last February in another wing of the same penitentiary, a few meters from Zaki, should have to get married. The plans were clear: “We both would finish the our course of study in their respective offices university students and at that point we would get married. THE master they ended just in these days and the ceremony had been fixed immediately after. Unfortunately it has all vanished for now ”.

Souheila Yildiz, 31, is the girlfriend of Ahmed Samir Santawy who is 29 years old; of a Turkish father and a Belgian mother, Soheila live to Gent, his hometown in Fiandre, but he spent half his life right at the Cairo. The two met and started dating right in Egypt to then continue the distance relationship in Europe: she in Belgium where, after graduation, today he is struggling with a Masters in Islamic Studies and Arabic language, he a Vienna at the Central European University (Ceu) where he was following his research course in sociology and social anthropology with a particular focus on abortion. The similarities between the stories of Patrick e Ahmed Samir they are numerous and go beyond the identity cards and the university course partially completed in Europe, also embracing the current fate.

Ahmed Samir reentered in Egypt in January during a hiatus from his Ph.D. a Vienna – he says Souheila Yildiz – and I would have joined him on the 1st of February. We would have been a week at Cairo to then return to Belgium and in Austria. That day I landed at Alexandria of Egypt and we were supposed to meet at Cairo, but we never succeeded. From noon, when he entered the police station (in New Cairo, ed.) and when my plane touched down on Egyptian soil, he disappeared for a few days before giving back signs of life inside the prison of Tora”.

Curious the way in which the student of the Heaven he has been arrested. In the days preceding the National Security, the notorious police structure serving the regime, had looked for him at home, but Santawy was having a few days off a Dahab, on the Red Sea. When he returned to Cairo they summoned him to the barracks for February 1, but it didn’t seem anything serious, so much so that a Soheila that same morning, as she was embarking, he said: “It’s one formalities, don’t worry, see you in a few hours “. TO Patrick Zaki February 8, 2020 went differently: the time to land at Cairo International Airport and traces of him have been lost, only to reappear, two days later, in court a Mansoura, hometown of the Zaki north of Cairo. His Patrick and the outcry caused by his arrest Soheila tells a very important detail: “What happened to Zaki has made the rounds in international academic realities – says the girl -, including Vienna. Ahmed Samir he was very impressed at the time. The two knew each other, not in depth, but each knew about the other, basically in Egypt they had been involved in studies and similar activities. Ahmed Samir participated and organized some initiatives of solidarity towards Patrick Zaki a Vienna. It is difficult to say whether this activity is in Austria pro-Zaki may have influenced his arrest once he returned home, but the suspicion is indeed there. Moreover, given the imaginative accusations and the evidence in the hands of the investigators, a handful of posts on Facebook, it is difficult to establish the reason for so much fury against him. Nothing more than 3 screenshots in which Ahmed Samir criticized, without exceeding, the management of the pandemic in Egypt”.

And we must speak of persistence towards Santawy whose detention has undergone a tear, an upgrade: “Things have changed since May 22 – adds his girlfriend – when Egyptian prosecutor has accused him of a new one. The two counts are almost identical, there are the usual accusations of being part of a terrorist group without obviously saying which one and of having spread false news. A matter of numbers, the fact is that since that day his detention has worsened. They moved it to the same section as the inmates politicians, the harder one, where you find characters like Alaa Abdel Fattah (the leader of the Tahrir protests in 2011, brother of Sana Seif, in a cell in the women’s prison of Qanater, and Mona, ed.). Since then, nothing in the cell mattress e hot water, no chance to receive foodmoney clothes, books and newspapers and to be visited by hers family. On the day of his ninth renewal of detention Ahmed Samir denounced a heavy aggression by the guards prison (including the deputy director of the structure according to the accusations of his lawyer, ed.). He and his cellmate (the former deputy Ziad al-Alimi, ed.) wanted to greet an inmate from the section whose father had just died. In exchange they got the beatings ”.

The months go by and the fate of Ahmed Samir, like that of Patrick, seems to be entrusted to a destination marked by a long and unjust detention. Weeks and months accumulate e Soheila she hasn’t seen or talked to her boyfriend for over five months: “Not being married yet, I couldn’t get the permission to visit him in prison. I made a formal request to the government Belgian to be able to intercede with the respective embassies to get a permission special, at that point I would leave immediately for the Cairo. In the meantime I have momentarily slowed down the Education to carry out a project of the heart. Ahmed he loves writing short stories and I am making gods for each of them drawings: it will become a book “.

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