By Coptic Solidarity – Standard Newswire
(Washington, DC) April 15 , 2021
Coptic Solidarity and International Christian Concern cosponsored a joint NGO letter, signed by 43 organizations and individuals, which urges the Biden Administration to take immediate action on behalf of Ramy Kamel, a prominent human rights activist who has languished in solitary confinement for 16 months. The letter states: “We ask that you promptly contact Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, urging the release of the imprisoned Coptic activist, Ramy Kamel.”
Ramy Kamel, was arrested by the Egyptian security forces for cooperating with the former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Fahra, when she visited Egypt in September 2018. Mr. Kamel was invited to participate in a UN forum (November 28th and 29th, 2019) titled Education, Language, and the Human Rights of Minorities. Egyptian SSP arrested and tortured him, pressuring for his sources, prior to the event. Mr. Kamel still planned to attend, and was then arrested on November 23, 2019, just before the UN event, preventing him from participating.
Initial reports indicated that Kamel would be detained for 15-days, pending an investigation (Case no. 1475 of 2019) under the bogus charges by the State Security Prosecution of disturbing the public peace through the misuse of social media and spreading false news, and with joining and financing a terrorist group. Despite a complete lack of evidence and in contravention of Egypt’s own laws, Kamel’s detention has been automatically renewed for an additional 45 days at each of his hearings—the latest was on April 7.
Prior to taking office, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, significantly tweeted in support of three imprisoned human rights activists from the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights. While President Trump famously called el-Sisi his favorite dictator and turned a blind eye to the severe crackdown on civil society and rights in Egypt, rights groups such as Coptic Solidarity hoped Blinken’s tweet and other statements from members of the incoming Biden administration signaled a change in US policy towards Egypt, one which prioritized human rights issues.
The NGOs’ letter concludes: “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.”
Amidst baseless claims by former Secretary Pompeo regarding improved religious freedom in Egypt, the reality is opposite. The Trump administration failed to secure Ramy Kamel’s release, and there is no indication that the Biden administration has raised it.
Coptic Solidarity is an organization seeking to help minorities, particularly the Copts, of Egypt and we support those in Egypt working for democracy, freedom, and the protection of the fundamental rights of all Egyptian citizens. It advocates 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