An Edinburgh University graduate is calling for the release of her classmate from an Egyptian jail
Diva Mukherji, 25, was a student at Edinburgh University from 2014-18 and was a sabbatical officer from 2018-19.
Ahmed Samir Abdelhay Ali, 29 - Diva’s sociology and social anthropology masters classmate at the Central European University (CEU)in Vienna - was detained by the Egyptian Security Forces on February 1.
For five days, he was allegedly held without access to lawyers or his family.
Ahmed’s friends and family also say that police officially denied he was in custody and no contact was allowed.
On February 6, the State Security Prosecutor (SSSP) are being accused of formally charging Ahmed with joining a terrorist organization and deliberately spreading false news and data online.
Those campaigning for his release have said that the details of the accusations are baseless.
It is claimed Ahmed testified during the investigation with the Supreme State Security Prosecutor that he was physically assaulted during interrogations by being severely beaten on his body and slapped on his face by police.
His academic work addresses women’s rights in Egypt with a focus on the history of reproductive rights; his main concern was protecting women’s reproductive rights and their access to legal and safe treatments.
Ahmed's case is said to be the latest in a series of international students and researchers harassed, tortured, and falsely imprisoned by Egyptian authorities on trumped-up charges.
Diva said: "When I was a student at the University of Edinburgh, I was able to explore my academic interests, and understand the importance of academic freedom as the basis of a free and democratic society.
“Ahmed Samir has been falsely accused, and now imprisoned, by the Egyptian Security Forces for his innovative research, which is about the history of reproductive rights in Egypt. He is an incredible student, and deserves to complete his masters, and continue applying for PhD’s, as he planned to do, before he was arrested.
“Edinburgh has a rich intellectual history, and I plead with its residents to share Ahmed’s story, and join me in the fight for academic freedom."
The CEU, Amnesty International and the Egyptian Front for Human rights have all issued statements calling for his immediate release.