April 15, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
We write to you as an informal group of 43 organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious and secular leaders, and human rights advocates.
We ask that you promptly contact Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, urging the release of the imprisoned Coptic activist, Ramy Kamel.
A group of 15 concerned NGOs published a statement on December 21, 2020 raising concerns about Mr. Kamel’s detention in solitary confinement for more than one year.
Mr. Kamel was arrested on Nov 23, 2019 and, without credible evidence, he was accused by the State Security Prosecutor General (SSSP), of “disturbing the public peace through the misuse of social media and spreading false news, and with joining and financing a terrorist group.” He is still being detained ‘pending further investigations,’ without indicating when, or whether, he will be referred to court for trial. He has been held in solitary confinement for 15 months, suffering a de facto brutal and illegitimate punishment.
Mr. Kamel’s imprisonment is a direct result of cooperating with the UN, which makes a commensurate response by the UN and the US government a moral imperative. He was invited to participate in an UN forum (November 28th and 29th, 2019) titled Education, Language, and the Human Rights of Minorities as a leading advocate and as an individual who met and collaborated with the former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Fahra, when she visited Egypt in September 2018. He was arrested just before departing Cairo.
Kamel’s focus was on Christians who have been displaced from their homes by the government’s actions, including development, counter-terrorism efforts, and faith-based persecution.
Mr. Kamel is suffering severe, repeated asthma attacks which pose an even greater risk for him due to the spread of COVID-19 in Egyptian prisons. His sister reported that he has lost about one-third of his weight and is in extremely poor mental health due to the prolonged time in solitary confinement and is still being denied medical treatment. Mr. Kamel’s very life is in danger due to the egregious treatment he has experienced at the hands of Egyptian State Security and refusal of the judiciary to perform their duties.
We urge the immediate release of Mr. Kamel, lifting of all charges against him in Case no. 1475 of 2019, and that a thorough investigation be completed to ensure that those responsible for these violations against him, including all acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
We stand ready to answer any questions and to provide any additional information you may require to take immediate action on behalf of Mr. Kamel.
International Christian Concern
Center for Pluralism
Center for Studies on New Religions (CENSUR)
Christian Freedom International
Citizen Power Initiatives for China
Coalition for Jewish Values
Congolese Integration Network
Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, USA
Church of Scientology, National Affairs Office
The Freedom Initiative
Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)
International Human Rights Commission
Institut de recherche et d’études stratégiques de Khyber France
International Organization to Preserve Human Rights
Jubilee Campaign USA
New Wineskins Missionary Network
Observatory for Freedom of Religion and Conscience (Spain)
Orthodox Public Affairs Committee
The Philos Project
Plateau State Youth Council
Religious Freedom Institute
Revealing Light Ministries
Russia Orthodox Autonomous Church of America
Save the Persecuted Christians
Set My People Free
Tahrir Institute for Middle East Studies
Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
United Macedonian Diaspora
Individuals (with organization and title for identification purposes only)
Rep. Thomas A. Garrett
Former Congressman, United States House of Representatives
Lauren B. Homer
President, Law and Liberty International
Former Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom, Department of State
Professor, Baylor University
President, Red Eagle Enterprises
Program Director, Peace Catalyst International