As 23 November 2020 marks one year of solitary confinement for Ramy Kamel, a Coptic Egyptian Human rights defenders, ACAT-France and Coptic Solidarity urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Mr. Ramy Kamel, lift all charges against him, and conduct effective investigations on allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment against Ramy.
November 23, 2020 marks the one-year anniversary of Kamel’s unwarranted arrest and imprisonment, serving a FULL year in solitary confinement, in direct contravention of Egypt’s own laws. This anniversary happens just after three members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a prominent Egyptian human rights NGO, were arrested by the authorities, a clear and worrying signal from the Egyptian authorities to the international community.
The arrest of Kamel is part of a larger Egyptian government campaign to curtail freedom of speech and expression and to repress and imprison those who advocate for human rights and minorities. Without credible proof, Mr. Kamel was charged by the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), upon his arrest, with joining and financing a terrorist group among other accusation. Ever since, he has been in solitary confinement which, in itself, amounts to a blatant punishment that could amount to torture or mistreatment.
Rights groups and the Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups, which compose the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, recognized 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 Coptic Christians, and that he must be released immediately.
On August 23, Kamel’s sister was able to visit him for 20 minutes, where she noted that Kamel has lost about one third of his weight. He was able to communicate that he is in a very poor state of mental health, due to prolonged solitary confinement, and conveyed that he was suffering repeated asthma attacks and has not received proper medical care, despite serious risks due to the Covid-19 spread in Egyptian prisons.
Over his one-year long solitary confinement, Kamel’s rights have been violated on multiple occasions. He was allegedly tortured several times by national security officers in November 2019 and according to UN experts, this lengthy time in solitary amounts to torture, and demonstrates the arbitrary nature of his detention. The right to a fair trial has been repeatedly breached (access to his lawyer and to documentation denied, complaint against the prosecution not filed, trial session without his presence and lawyers…).
After one year of solitary confinement, ACAT-France and Coptic Solidarity urge the Egyptian government to immediately release Mr. Ramy Kamel, lift all charges against him in Case no. 1475 of 2019, and conduct effective investigations on allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment against Kamel.