The case

Interview with Laila Soueif and her daughter Mona Seif in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung (Taz), by Karim El-Gawhary, December 20, 2020

Statt Hoffnung eine Portion Wut“ (Instead of hope, a portion of anger).
The Seif family became known for their commitment. Mother and daughter talk about prison visits, repression and European responsibility.

Laila Soueif interviewed by Mediapart journalist Ariane Lavrilleux following French President Emmanuel Macron’s reception of Egyptian President al-Sissi, Mediapart, December 9, 2020

Laila Soueif (Cairo University) has received the 2020 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Academic Freedom Award

Laila Soueif has always insisted that academic freedom is part and parcel of respect for human and civil rights.  As a member of a family of prominent activists, she has consistently used her platform to advocate for these rights. While no one person can be said to embody the Egyptian people’s struggle against social, economic and political repression, Laila Soueif and her tireless work in defense of academic freedom, human rights and dignity are exemplary of a deep commitment that refuses to acquiesce in injustice.   

The Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) is honored to recognize Dr. Laila Soueif’s decades of courageous activism with its Academic Freedom Award for 2020.

A brief bibliography of Laila Soueif, MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive

For decades, Laila Soueif has been a familiar sight at protests across Cairo. From demonstrations calling for academic freedom at Cairo University to the earliest manifestations of the Kifaya movement to the uprising of 2011 and beyond, Soueif is a curiously iconic figure. With her greying and occasionally dishevelled hair and lightly rumpled clothes, the celebrated professor of mathematics is difficult to miss in a crowd. She tends to be the oldest in the pack – but also the most persistent.
Laila Soueif is someone who is driven by her complete commitment to social justice. She has a rock solid belief that this is simply the right thing for a human being to do … to stand for what you believe in, even if you are alone.

Egyptian Activist Laila Soueif on the Jailing of Her Children & the Fight Against AuthoritarianismDemocracy Now, July 6, 2020

Ahmed Seif, Who Was Tortured in Egypt and Became Rights Defender, Dies at 63, by Douglas Martin, The New York Times, August 29, 2014

Ahmed Seif, whose experience of torture as a political prisoner in Egypt inspired him to become a leading human rights lawyer defending leftists, Islamists, atheists and gays, died on Wednesday in Cairo. He was 63.

Crowds leaving the cemetery after his funeral on Thursday held up banners calling him “the sword of the people” and “the exemplary fighter.” Among them were his son, Alaa Abdel Fattah, and his daughter Sanaa Seif, who were temporarily released from prisons to attend the ceremony. They have been incarcerated for protesting repression by the Egyptian government. 

Alaa Abd Fattah: Hungers Strike for Freedom, News click, 30 Aug 2014

At 4 pm today, I celebrated with my colleagues my last meal in prison. I have decided — when I saw my father fighting against death locked in a body that was no longer subject to his will — I decided to start an open hunger strike until I achieve my freedom. The well-being of my body is of no value while it remains subject to an unjust power in an open-ended imprisonment not controlled by the law or any concept of justice.

Egypt: Torture of activist Alaa Abdel Fattah illustrates use of extreme brutality to crush dissent, Amnesty International, October 10, 2019 

“Alaa Abdel Fattah’s torture in custody illustrates the Egyptian authorities’ use of extreme brutality to crush dissent and shows the extreme lengths that they are prepared to go to in order to intimidate perceived government critics,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

Egypt arrests activists including Ahdaf Soueif over coronavirus protest, The Guardian, March 18, 2020

Egyptian security forces arrested Laila Soueif, her daughter Mona Seif, her sister the Booker-shortlisted novelist Ahdaf Soueif and the activist Rabab El-Mahdi after they staged a protest demanding the release of prisoners over fears of a coronavirus outbreak in the country’s overcrowded jails.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah on hunger strike protesting his continued illegal detention, Access now, April 29, 2020 

Civil society organizations, lawyers, journalists, and activists, urge the Egyptian authoritiesto immediately and unconditionally release the human rights activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, 

On Laila and Alaa, by Ahdaf Soueif, May 15, 2020

Yesterday, at Tora Prison gate, a brief nap, and then she will carry on.

Egypt: Human rights activist arrested outside Public Prosecutor’s office, Amnesty International, June 23, 2020

“Sanaa Seif and her family have suffered years of harassment and intimidation for their human rights activism, but the events of the past two days mark another new low. The fact that Sanaa Seif was taken from right outside the Public Prosecutor’s office shows just how brazen the Egyptian security forces have become,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Mathematicians for Human Rights: History of the Committee of Mathematicians (1974)

The international mathematical community is known for its solidarity and its commitment to human rights. In an article entitled “Mathematics, an impossible equation for the Kremlin” (Les maths, impossible équation pour le Kremlin), published in Médiapart on July 24, 2020, François Bonnet recalls an important campaign in the history of this commitment. The internment in a Soviet psychiatric hospital of Leonide Pliouchtch gave rise, from 1974, to a successful international campaign organized by the Committee of Mathematicians, launched in France by Henri Cartan, Laurent Schwartz, Michel Broué and Tania Mathon, on behalf of solidarity of scientists. This article is available here in pdf (French).