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Sanaa Seif sentenced to six months in prison

On 4 May 2016, the El Sayeda Zeinab Misdemeanor Court in Cairo sentenced human rights defender Sanaa Seif to six months in prison for insulting the judiciary. The human rights defender did not attend the hearing but on the same day, after the verdict was issued, she turned herself in at El Sayeda Zeinab Police Station. The prosecution did not detain her and told her to return in ten days.


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Sanaa Seif was accused of not cooperating with the authorities during an investigation related to an anti-government protest on 25 April 2016. The human rights defender was accused of printing and distributing flyers ahead of the “Egypt is not for sale” demonstration, which was sparked by president Al-Sisi's decision to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia. Ahead of the protest, security forces arrested around 300 people including many human rights defenders. Many of the arrested are currently under investigation for participating in the rally.

On 4 May, Sanaa Seif said she gave up her right to appeal the verdict, because she has lost faith in the judicial system.

In a Facebook post she wrote:

Simply, I do not have the energy to deal with their measures. [...] This is not a show of bravery … As long as they insist on implicating me, and since either way I’ll pay the price, I’d rather do it while staying true to myself.

Sanaa Seif was released on 23 September 2015, following a presidential pardon of 165 prisoners. She had been arrested on 21 June 2014, during a demonstration against the repressive 'Protest Law'. Her brother, Alaa Abdel Fattah, has also been imprisoned since February 2015.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concerns over the verdict against human rights defender Sanaa Seif, and urges the Egyptian authorities to all drop the charges against her. It is also condemns the recent arrests and detentions of human rights defenders in Egypt and calls on the authorities to immediately release them.


About the situation

On 4 May 2016, the El Sayeda Zeinab Misdemeanor Court in Cairo sentenced human rights defender Sanaa Seif to six months in prison for insulting the judiciary. The human rights defender did not attend the hearing but on the same day, after the verdict was issued, she turned herself in at El Sayeda Zeinab Police Station. The prosecution did not detain her and told her to return in ten days.

Read the full case history

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