Sanaa Seif, the Egyptian political activist who edited the Oscar-nominated documentary, The Square, will serve three years in prison for protesting, a court in Cairo has ruled. Twenty other defendants have been sentenced along with Seif after being in pretrial detention for more than 100 days. Their crime? Protesting the protest law. Seif was arrested this summer for demonstrating against the anti-protest laws which criminalize political gatherings if they are not approved by security forces.
Seif’s brother, Alaa Abd El-Fattah was sentenced to 15 years for violating the protest law and his retrial is this week. One of the producers, Karim Amer, thinks that they are lining up the team to basically accuse them of working for foreign governments. The Square relays the Egyptian revolutions of 2011 and 2013 through the eyes of a group of activists. It won awards at Sundance and won the best feature honor from the International Documentary Association. The documentary was also nominated for an Oscar and is the first Egyptian film in history to be represented at the Academy Awards.
The documentary has received harsh controversy in Egypt because it criticizes the Egyptian military during and after the revolution and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former army chief, now serves as president.