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Egyptian Court Convicts, Jails Student for ‘Spreading False News’

An Egyptian court convicted a university student for “spreading false news.” Ahmed Samir Santawy was sentenced to four years in prison, The New Arab reported. He was arrested in February after entering Egypt to visit his family.

Santawy, a master’s student at the Central European University in Vienna, wrote his thesis on abortion, women’s rights in Islam and the history of reproductive rights in Egypt.

The reason for Samir’s arrest is not known, though he reportedly was questioned about his thesis.

He is accused of “spreading false news” and “belonging to a terrorist organization.”

“It is outrageous that Ahmed Samir Santawy was sentenced to four years behind bars following a flawed conviction on entirely spurious grounds by a special state security court. His conviction is based solely on social media posts criticizing human rights violations in Egyptian prisons and the state’s mishandling of the pandemic, which he has, in any case, denied writing,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther said in a statement. “Regardless of the author of the posts, criminalizing the dissemination of information based on vague concepts such as ‘false news’ is contrary to the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution and international human rights law.”