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Christian Entity Lauds Release of Egyptian Freedom Activist after Two-year Detention

Rami Kamil. Credit: CSW

Officials of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have expressed joy following the release of a Christian activist who has been in police detention for the past two years.

Rami Kamil who was released on January 9, pending trial, has had his detention renewed several times since his arrest on 23 November 2019. 

In a Tuesday, January 11 report, the leadership of the UK-based human rights foundation says Mr. Kamil who is facing terrorism charges has been unfairly targeted because of his work in documenting violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

“CSW welcomes Mr. Kamil’s release from pre-trial detention, and we are pleased to hear that he is back with his family and in good health,” CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas says.

The CSW official adds that Mr. Kamil “should never have been arrested; neither should he have had to spend so long in pre-trial detention.”

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Mr. Mervyn has called on the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against the activist “without precondition."

CSW Founder President has also called for the "immediate and unconditional release of all others detained on excessive charges that amount to the criminalization of human rights activism.”

Mr. Kamil is one of the founding members and the coordinator of the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights group that emerged after the Maspero massacre of October 2011, in which over 20 Coptic protesters were reportedly killed when the military attacked a peaceful civil rights protest.

CSW first reported Mr. Kamil’s arrest on 26 November 2019 and explained that the police who arrested the Egyptian activist refused to allow him to change his clothes, carry his medications or speak to a lawyer.

According to the leadership of the foundation that specializes in religious freedom all over the world, Egyptian authorities also seized Mr. Kamil’s camera, laptop, mobile phone and books.

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Following his arrest, Mr. Kamil was taken to an unknown location, where he underwent intensive interrogation and was subjected to physical and psychological pressure, the leadership of CSW narrates, adding that the activist later appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) without legal representation, and was given 15 days in pre-trial detention. 

Mr. Kamil was subsequently accused of joining a terrorist organization, receiving foreign funding, disturbing public order, inciting the public against the State, and using social media to incite sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians.

According to the UK-based Christian organization, Mr. Kamil’s arrest came days after Egypt's human rights record was examined by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where Egypt received the highest number of recommendations since their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2010.

“In July 2018 Mr. Kamil accompanied the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, on a fact-finding visit to Cairo and Minya to investigate the situation of members of the Coptic community who had been displaced from their homes following sectarian incidents,” CSW reported.  

In September last year, CSW officials condemned Mr. Kamil’s lengthy detention and called for his release from police custody.

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