A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Egyptian Human Rights Lawyer Ahmad Seif Dies at 63; Two of His Children Are in Prison for Protests

Seif with Defendants
Veteran Egyptian human rights lawyer and activist Ahmad Seif El-Islam has died at the age of 63.  He had suffered a heart attack two weeks ago.

Seif (1951-2014), an attorney, has actively defended protesters and activists for decades; though from the political left himself, he defended clients from across the political spectrum. He resigned from the Human Rights Council to protest the 2013 coup.

Seif, in fact, headed an entire family of activists. His wife Laila Soueif is a professor at Cairo University and an activist; his son, Alaa Abdel Fattah, is perhaps the best known non-Muslim Brotherhood political prisoner in Egypt, once a pioneering blogger prominent in the 2011 Revolution and now serving 15 years for violating the anti-protest law; after being allowed to visit his unconscious father in the hospital, Alaa last week announced he was beginning a hunger strike. At that time the family issued this statement.

Mada Masr just published an open letter from Alaa in prison.

Alaa's youngest sister Sanaa is also in prison awaiting trial for violating the protest law and was allowed to visit her father. The third sibling, Nora, is also an activist opposing military tribunals..
Activist Family: right to left, Ahmad, wife Laila, Ala, Nora, Sanaa

The funeral is tomorrow, and a Facebook page is urging people to attend.

See also The Guardian here and Zeinobia here.
Carlos Latuff cartoon (source)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahmad Seif's Death provided a rare moment during which at least a couple of Egypt's "private" TV channels dared to bring on guests to pay tribute to him and in the process review the current terrible human rights situation, starting with the imprisonment of his son and daughter and other 25 January revolutionaries. For a brief moment, these largely forgotten heroes, languishing in jail and some on hunger strike, we revived as a political issue. Likewise, the cases Seif was involved in allowed such guests to remind the audiences that this struggle has been going on for decades....and still is.