Hundreds bid farewell to iconic human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif

Hundreds marched in the funeral of renowned human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam on Thursday, gathering to lay his body to rest in the Tonsy cemetery in Basateen.

His son Alaa Abd El Fattah and his daughter Sanaa Seif, both currently in prison on charges stemming from violating the Protest Law, were briefly allowed out of detention to attend their father’s burial.

Seif, 63, was an icon for human rights defenders in Egypt throughout the course of a long career dedicated to indiscriminately fighting for justice for all. He died on Wednesday after slipping into a coma following heart surgery earlier this month. Despite his failing health, Seif had continued to appear in court with his son and daughter alongside other detainees whose cases he recently took on.

 “We will continue your path,” the crowds chanted as they carried his body out of the Salah Eddin Mosque to head to the cemetery.

There was heavy security presence as Alaa and Sanaa arrived at the cemetery. Alaa addressed the crowd briefly, apologizing for not being able to accept condolences from every individual, and asserting that he and Sanaa would be present on Saturday to accept the condolences in the mosque.

The crowd welcomed the siblings with cheers and chants of “freedom.”

 “My father dies as a martyr, and you know who killed him,” Alaa concluded his remarks.

Leaving the cemetery, the crowd chanted against military rule and held up banners bidding Seif farewell, calling him “The sword of the people” and “The exemplary fighter.”

Alaa started a hunger strike last week after visiting his father and becoming aware of his critical condition. The renowned activist was sentenced to 15 years in absentia for protest-related charges earlier this summer and is awaiting appeal.

Sanaa was arrested in June while protesting for her brother’s freedom, and is being held in custody pending trial.