Barely ten days have elapsed since the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, in which Egypt received 372 recommendations to improve the human rights situation – the largest number in its history since 2010 – reflecting the deterioration of human rights record in Egypt. The Egyptian government pursues its repressive policies that infringe on rights and freedoms. It adds new numbers to tens of thousands of activists and journalists in prison, according to human rights reports from international organizations and UN bodies.
On Saturday, November 23, 2019, national security forces arrested Coptic activist Rami Kamel. Members of the National Security Forces raided Rami’s house and confiscated his computer and phone. He was taken to an unknown location without being allowed to change his clothes. His whereabouts remained unknown and he had no communication with family or his lawyer. He didn’t even know the charges against him. He was interrogated in absence of his lawyer and kept in pre=trail detention to next day. The next day he was confronted with the charges of joining and financing a terrorist group, disrupting public peace, inciting public opinion against the state, using social media for inciting and posing Discrimination between Muslims and Christians. Rami ‘s lawyers reported that he was tortured during his custody and demanded the prosecution office to send him to forensic to prove his injuries, but the prosecution did not transfer him to forensics. A decision was issued to imprison him for 15 days in pre-trail detention.
Rami Kamel is a Coptic human rights defender and coordinator of the Maspero Youth Movement and one of the figures that emerged following the Maspero sectarian incident in which the Egyptian army killed Coptic protesters in October 2011. Rami also was a critic for the worship places law as it limits right to practice religious rituals and doesn’t resolve churches building restrictions that leads to sectarian strife all the time. Rami Kamel accompanied the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing in her visit to displaced Copts in Minya and the Warraq area in Cairo in September 2018 and provided elaboration for their living conditions after forced displacement from their homes following the events of sectarian violence.
The undersigned organizations call upon the Egyptian government to respect its international commitments and its recent intervention in the UN Human Rights Council and try to comply with its previous pledges to improve and respect the human rights situation in Egypt. We also call on Ms. Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, to intervene and demand the release of Rami Kamel. For his arrest represents reprisal and abuse him for his cooperation with one of the UN mechanisms:
1. Arab Center for Law and Society Studies
2. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies.
3. International Institute for Freedom of Information and Expression.
4. Humena for human rights and civic participation.
5. Arab Organization for Penal Reform
6. Egyptian Front for Human Rights
7. The Egyptian Democratic Institute for Awareness of Constitutional and Legal Rights
8. Arab Foundation for the Support of Civil Society and Human Rights
9. Human Rights Monitor.
10. Arab program for human rights defenders Egypt.
11. International program for human rights defenders Canada.
12.Canadian underserved center
13.Canadain Coptic association