The undersigned Egyptian rights organizations condemn the continued detention of Ramy Kamel, a human rights activist and defender of Coptic Christian minority rights in Egypt. We call on the Supreme State Security Prosecution for his immediate release during the detention renewal hearing today December 16th, and for all charges against him to be dropped in Case no. 1475 of 2019.
The undersigned hold the Egyptian state authorities, accountable for Ramy Kamel’s safety and life, especially after reports emerged last week concerning Ramy’s deteriorating health; he suffers from acute respiratory distress. Furthermore, an immediate investigation must be opened into allegations of torture and grave violations committed by the Egyptian authorities against Ramy before and during his arrest, and during his detainment.
The undersigned welcome the statement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which called on Egypt to end the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Ramy Kamel while emphasizing that “No person should face intimidation, harassment or reprisals of any sort for participation in or contribution to the work of the UN and its human rights mechanisms.” The Egyptian state’s prosecution and alleged torture of Ramy Kamel, the UN experts added, “fall into a pattern of raids, arrests and travel bans against human rights defenders, journalists, dissidents and their family members. We also deeply regret that once again counter-terrorism legislation is being used in Egypt to target human rights defenders with the purpose of quashing their advocacy and suppressing any expression of dissent.”
During his imprisonment, Ramy was denied family visitation, and his lawyers were prohibited from communicating with him, despite authorization from the Public Prosecution. Ramy is charged by the State Security Prosecution with disturbing the public peace through the misuse of social media and spreading false news, and with joining and financing a terrorist group “through sending postal transfers to others.”1 Ramy denied the charges, and his lawyer filed a petition (no. 53237) on December 12th to the General Attorney against the terrorism charges after obtaining a certificate from the main post office denying that Ramy had carried out these transfers at the specific times and with the specified amounts of money referred to in the investigation. This certificate renders the entire prosecution of Ramy, and the charges upon which it is based, dubious and malicious.
By exposing the violations committed against Coptic Christians and many other Egyptian citizens, Ramy Kamel has joined an ever-growing number of detained human rights activists paying a hefty price for exercising their right to free expression and for cooperating with UN rights mechanisms. Egypt is a member state of the United Nations, rendering its widening practice of prosecuting and retaliating against citizens who engage with the UN even more untenable. Furthermore, Ramy’s imprisonment constitutes a grave breach of a number of international agreements and treaties to which Egypt is bound.
Cairo institute for human right studies (CIHRS)
Freedom Initiative Organization
Committee of Justice
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
1 During the investigation session on December 2nd, Ramy’s defense requested the General Attorney to review these statements regarding the postal transfers in preparation to take measures against them for forgery, after Ramy denied his connection to the charges.