More than 200 world figures, including artists, writers, academics, and Human Rights Organisations, signed on Tuesday an open letter calling on the Egyptian authorities to release the Egyptian political activist, Sanaa Seif. The signatories said: “Sanaa is the latest in a seemingly unending series of arrests that have come to define President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule.” They demanded the necessity of “the immediate release of Sanaa Seif, [her brother] Alaa Abdelfattah, and all prisoners who exercised their rights in complete peace,” demanding that they stop abusing pretrial detention. Among the most prominent signers of the speech are actors Danny Glover, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Thandie Newton, and leading writers Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, and Nobel Literature laureate J. M. Coetzee, in addition to the signature of international human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
The Egyptian authorities arrested Sanaa on June 23, while she was waiting with her family (her mother and sister) to report an assault on them by a group of women in front of Tora Prison, where her brother is detained. Sanaa was charged with spreading false news, inciting terrorist crimes, and misusing social media.
Sanaa is the daughter of the human rights activist Laila Souef and the sister of the political activist Alaa Abdelfattah, who was arrested on September 29, 2019, following rare demonstrations calling for the departure of the Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.