Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A00043 - Ahmed Seif, Egyptian Human Rights Lawyer

Seif, Ahmed
Ahmed Seif , also written as Ahmad Saif (el-Islam Hamad Abd el-Fattah) (January 9, 1951 - August 27, 2014), was an Egyptian journalist and human rights lawyer.

In the 1980s, Seif served a five-year prison sentence for activism. Afterwards, he was still several times imprisoned for political reasons, including during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. In 1999, he was one of the founders of the Hisham Mubarak Center for Law. In 2011, he was also leader of the political movement Kefaya. 

Seif was the father of two prominent activists during the Egyptian Revolution, Mona Seif and Alaa Abd El Fattah.  Seif married to Laila Soueif, a professor of mathematics at the University of Cairo. 

Because of Seif's involvement in the socialist movement, he was arrested in 1983 and tortured by agents of the Egyptian security forces. For five years, he was in prison. After his release, Seif focused on the fight against torture in Egypt.  In 1989, shortly after his release, he took on one of the most important human rights issues in the country itself.  Because of his struggle against torture and injustice he grew over the years into a central figure in several successful Egyptian human rights cases. 

In 1999, he was one of the founders of the Centre Hisham Mubarak for Law in Cairo, a center named for Hisham Mubarak, a lawyer who had focused on human rights and the granting of legal assistance to victims of violations of human rights laws. 

Seif was one of the attorneys in the case against fifteen defendants after the bombing in Taba and other places in the Sinai in October 2004.  Seif argued strongly against the wave of bombings while. on the other hand, arguing that the defendants in no way tortured of engaged in violations of human rights. Nevertheless, all fifteen defendants were convicted on the basis of confessions obtained during their torture.  

Other high-profile cases with other lawyers were the Queen Boat case in 2001, in which 52 men were tried on the basis of their sexual orientation, and the defense of 49 textile workers because they had participated in protests on April 6, 2008 in Mahalla.

In 2006, Seif took on the defense of Karim Amer, the first blogger who was indicted for a crime because of his criticism, on the Internet, of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Islam.  Amer was sentenced to four years imprisonment. 
Seif died on August 27, 2014 at the age of 63 during open-heart surgery.

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