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A new Zaki case in Egypt: a researcher from the Ceu University of Vienna arrested. He too had collaborated with a local NGO

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The Egyptian regime and its idiosyncrasy towards uncomfortable university students. History repeats itself and after the case of Patrick Zaki |, arrested a year ago on his return from Italy for a visit to his family during the break between the first and second semester, theEgypt is again shaken by the enforced disappearance of one of his researcher. Article link

The similarities with the story of the student at the University of Bologna are striking. Ahmed Samir Santawy is 29 years old like Patrick, he returned fromAustria where he is enrolled in the second year of the Master in Anthropology and Social Sciences at the Central European University of Vienna and now it is in the hands of National Security Agency.

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The only substantial difference with Zaki is linked to his fate: the Erasmus student from the University of Bologna was stopped directly at the airport, at Cairo, only to reappear two days later in a police station in his hometown, Mansoura, while for Santawy times are dangerously dilating. His latest news dates back to Monday morning February 1 when, following an official invitation / order from the Nsa, went to the police headquarters of New Cairo, V Settlement for ‘Official Communications’. Since that day he has been lost track.

Concern in the circles ofhuman rights activism grows hour after hour. To take care of her case, after the alarm raised by Santawy’s family, is there Foundation for freedom of thought and expression (Afte) asking the Egyptian Interior Ministry to release the researcher: “Ahmed Samir is illegally detained – say the leaders Afte – We renew the appeal to the security services to provide news on the student and stop the usual approach of prosecuting and arresting researchers, violating their rights and interrupting their studies ”.

As mentioned, unlike Patrick Zaki, the student from the CEU in Vienna was not stopped immediately at the airport. While for Zaki the ‘red light’ had gone off and for this reason he immediately ended up in the hands of the police, for Ahmed Samir Santawy the ‘orange’ color was activated. Article link

The 29-year-old, who returned on January 21 to spend two weeks with his family before returning to Austria to continue his studies, was stopped, interrogated at the airport, but then let go. After a brief visit to his home in New Cairo, on the eastern outskirts, a short distance from the futuristic capital, Santawy joined his family Dahab, well-known tourist resort on the Red Sea, in Sinai.

During his stay in Dahab, the NSA carried out a blitz in the house of New Cairo in search of Santawy. Article link

The dwelling was searched thoroughly, the agents took some electronic devices and the internal video surveillance system. At the same time, they sent a message to the 29-year-old asking him to report to the police station, but without apparent haste. This detail must have reassured both Santawy and his family, otherwise they could have stopped him also in southern Sinai: “Last Monday, at noon – adds an Aphte manager – Ahmed showed up at the New Cairo station. No one imagined that it was something dangerous, instead of him from that moment nothing has been heard. Article link

The researcher’s family sent a telegram to the Attorney General asking for his release and information on his state of health and possible detention. For five days now, communications with him have been interrupted ”.

In the past, Santawy worked within the Egyptian NGO, engaged in social issues of close relevance to the world of Egyptian activism. As with Patrick Zaki, Santawy also got the chance to study abroad and jumped at the opportunity. Another analogy, Ahmed Samir also arrived in Austria at the end of August 2019 to start the academic course in September. Article link

The leaders of the CEU are very worried: “We ask the Egyptian authorities for his immediate release given that there are still no specific judicial charges against him – writes the Rector and President of the university founded by George Soros in an official document, Michael Ignatieff – Ahmed Samir is our student enrolled in the second year of the Master in Sociology and Anthropology. He returned to Egypt for the winter break from courses and from February 1st nothing is known about him, we are worried and close to the family ”.

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