Tuesday, January 18

After 900 days in prison in Egypt, activist Ramy Shaath finally in Paris

The Egyptian-Palestinian political activist Ramy Shaath, with his wife Céline Lebrun, on his arrival at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport after more than two years of detention in Egypt, on the night of JULIEN DE ROSA

Egyptian-Palestinian political activist Ramy Shaath arrived in Paris on Saturday, visibly relieved after more than 900 days of detention in Egypt. But his family protested that he had been forced to renounce his Egyptian nationality in order to obtain his release.

“It’s huge. I’m very happy to be here,” he said in English a few minutes after leaving Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, his arm raised while holding the hand of his wife, the French Céline Lebrun, who had herself been expelled from Egypt at the time of her arrest.

“I spent the last two and a half years between prisons, places of enforced disappearance, some underground, others in solitary confinement, still others where I was with a lot of people subjected to particular treatment. inhuman, “he said.

Ramy Shaath was released “on the evening of (Thursday) January 6, after more than 900 days of arbitrary detention,” his family wrote in a statement. The Egyptian authorities then handed him over to a representative of the Palestinian Authority at Cairo airport, from where he boarded a plane to Amman. He landed in France on Saturday afternoon.

Saying to share the “relief” of the wife of Ramy Shaath, French President Emmanuel Macron greeted, on Twitter, “the decision of the Egyptian authorities” and said “thank you to all those who played a positive role in this happy outcome” .

“For more than two years, the French authorities have been fully mobilized with the Egyptian authorities so that the situation of Mr. Shaath can find a positive outcome”, for his part commented the French Minister of Foreign Affairs in a press release.

Ramy Shaath, 48, is a figure of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and the coordinator in Egypt of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS, advocating the boycott of Israel in the fight against the occupation of the Palestinian Territories) movement. He had been detained since July 2019 for wanting to foment “unrest against the state”.

“They accused me of a lot of things and they said to me one day: + You are accused of being part of a terrorist organization. + And I asked the guy: + What was the terrorist organization? + He said: + Well, we are not going to tell you + “, he quipped, mocking the lightness of the charges against him.

After “two and a half years of unjust detention in inhuman conditions”, his family regrets that the Egyptian authorities “forced” him to “renounce his Egyptian citizenship as a precondition for his release”. “No one should have to choose between their freedom and their citizenship,” she lamented in the statement.

– 60,000 prisoners of conscience –

In December, five human rights organizations questioned French President Emmanuel Macron on the fate of this activist, son of Palestinian political leader Nabil Shaath.

A year earlier, during a visit to Paris by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on December 7, 2020, Mr. Macron said he had spoken to him about “individual cases”, including that of Ramy Shaath.

Egypt has more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience, according to NGOs. The United States believes that the country violates human rights in all areas and has consequently frozen 10% of its aid.

Ramy Shaath’s release does not end “the need for international action against the Egyptian government’s catastrophic human rights record,” eleven NGOs, including Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights, said in a statement. ‘Man.

Another prisoner was released on Saturday after more than two years in preventive detention. This is Ramy Kamel, a Coptic human rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 popular uprising that swept through President Hosni Mobarak.

Ramy Kamel was arrested on November 23, 2019 on charges of belonging to a terrorist group. “Ramy is among his family … it’s party time!”, Rejoiced his sister Bossi on her Facebook page.

Among the “countless prisoners” still “arbitrarily detained” in Egypt are many “peaceful activists, human rights defenders, lawyers, academics and journalists detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, “listed these organizations, calling on Cairo to release these opponents.

Another Egyptian human rights activist, researcher Patrick Zaki, was released in December after 22 months in detention but still faces up to five years in prison for “false information” over article denouncing discrimination against Christians .

Asked about his commitment, Ramy Shaath explained that he had not changed “two and a half years (in prison) later”. “I’m still so determined to keep going.”


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