By Coptic Solidarity – Standard NewsWire–
For Immediate Release
Coptic Solidarity and 21Wilberforce co-led in circulating a letter for signatures among members of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable urging Congress to take action on behalf of imprisoned Coptic activist, Ramy Kamel. The letter attracted 63 signatures by a diverse group of leading human rights organizations and activists, and was sent to the House Foreign Affairs leadership; Chairman Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), and to the Senate Foreign Relations leadership; Chairman Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and Ranking Member Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Ramy Kamel was arrested on November 23, 2019 under false charges including joining and financing a terrorist group in Case no. 1475. Rights groups almost universally agree that Kamel’s arrest is a direct effort by the Egyptian government to punish and silence him for documenting and publicizing human rights abuses against Christians, and to prevent him from participating in a UN forum (November 28 and 29) titled Education, Language, and the Human Rights of Minorities. His arrest took place just prior to his participation in the event.
In response, Coptic Solidarity launched an online grassroots campaign urging Kamel’s immediate release. Egyptian human rights advocates have also joined forces to demand Kamel’s protection and release.
We call upon members of the US Congress to act regarding Kamel’s unjust imprisonment, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly due to reports that Ramy has asthma and is suffering acute respiratory distress. Shortly after his imprisonment, Lord David Alton of Liverpool and Canadian MP Garnett Genuis both sent advocacy letters on behalf of Kamel.The letter proposed for NGO signatures notes:
“The United States can and should maintain a strong relationship with Egypt, while
simultaneously advocating its values of human dignity and religious freedom. Considering Egypt is the 2nd largest recipient of US foreign aid, Members of Congress should be forcefully advocating for Kamel’s immediate release.”
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups, which compose the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, issued a statement urging Kamel’s release and the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, issued a statement urging Egypt to follow the lead of other states and release those convicted of non-violent offences and those who are in pre-trial detention, which includes prisoners of conscience such a Kamel.
Coptic Solidarity applauds the support of these and other diverse activists in urging the US Congress to:
“Please take urgent action by contacting the Egyptian government and ask for immediate
protection of Mr. Kamel from mistreatment, the provision of medical attention, and the termination of all charges against him in Case no. 1475 of 2019.”
Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt. We support those in Egypt working for democracy, freedom, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens, and advocate in cooperation with the affiliated organizations in Canada and in Europe (Solidarité Copte). For more information, contact Lindsay Griffin at 801-512-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol