• Urgent Action

Urgent Action Update: ACTIVIST SPENDS A YEAR IN PRISON UNJUSTLY (Egypt: UA 139.20)

June 23, 2021

Egyptian human rights activist Sanaa Seif is serving an unjust 18 months’ sentence in Al-Qanater Prison for women following her conviction on bogus charges of spreading “false news”, “misusing social media” and insulting a police officer on duty. Security forces arrested Sanaa Seif on June 23, 2020 as she was attempting to lodge a complaint about a violent assault she endured a day earlier outside Tora Prison, in full view of security officials. Sanaa Seif is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.


  1. Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on August 18, 2021.
  2. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  3. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 139.20. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Office of the President Al Ittihadia Palace – Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt Fax +202 2391 1441 Email: [email protected] Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
Ambassador Motaz Zahran Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt 3521 International Ct NW, Washington DC 20008 Phone: 202 895 5400 I Fax: 202 244 5131 Email: [email protected] ; [email protected] Twitter: @EgyptEmbassyUSA ; @MotazZahran Facebook: @EgyptEmbassyUSA Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER Dear President, Human rights activist and prisoner of conscience Sanaa Seif, 26, is serving an unjust one-and-a-half-year prison term, solely stemming from her peaceful exercise of her human rights. Unidentified security forces seized Sanaa Seif on June 23, 2020, without presenting a warrant, from outside the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, where she was planning to file a complaint about a violent assault she had suffered the day before, in full view of security forces. That day, Sanaa Seif, her mother, Laila Soueif, and sister, Mona Seif were waiting outside the Tora Prison Complex in Cairo, to receive a letter from her arbitrarily detained brother, the activist Alaa Abdel Fattah. A group of women approached the family and beat them with sticks, tore their clothes, dragged them onto the ground and stole some of their belongings. To date, the Egyptian authorities have failed to investigate this attack. On March 17, 2021, the 10th South Cairo Criminal Court convicted Sanaa Seif on bogus charges of “disseminating false news”, “misuse of social media” and insulting a police officer on duty. The latter charge relates to a verbal altercation with a police officer in front of the Tora Prison Complex when he pushed her mother on the day of the assault and relaying the incident on her social media. Sanaa Seif had also been publicly critical of the authorities’ mishandling of Covid-19 outbreaks in Egypt’s overcrowded and unhygienic prisons and has been calling for the release on those arbitrarily detained including her brother. Amnesty International has reviewed the evidence against Sanaa Seif – including comments posted online about the June 22, 2020 attack – and found that the criticism she expressed did not amount to advocacy of hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. We therefore urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Sanaa Seif and quash her conviction. We also urge you to take measures to end the relentless harassment of her family, and conduct independent, impartial and thorough investigations into the assault against Sanaa Seif, her mother and sister in front of the Tora Prison Complex on June 22, 2020 in full view of security forces, with a view of bringing those responsible to justice in proceedings meeting international standards of fair trial. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] ADDITIONAL RESOURCES