Egyptian authorities have released Coptic rights activist, and journalist, Ramy Kamel after two years of unjustified – and often solitary -confinement.
Kamel was arrested in 2019 on what the United States Commission on International Freedom said were “spurious” charges.
Using multiple sources in December 2020 Caldron Pool recalled how, Kamel, a ‘founding member of Maspero’s Youth Union’ was arrested ‘without a warrant early in the morning by seven plainclothes police officers.’
The officers ‘confiscated his mobile phone, laptop and camera; and refused to allow him his asthma inhaler’ (some reports included blood pressure medicine.)
Kamel was accused of ‘joining a terror group, receiving foreign funding and broadcasting false information,’ then interrogated for over 10 hours.
It is believed that Kamel’s arrest was related to his outspoken opposition to the widespread persecution and systemic discrimination of Egyptian Christians.
Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights and religious freedom advocacy group, was ‘established after a church on the outskirts of Cairo was torched in October 2011’, when the Egyptian army, at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood, killed 30 protestors.
Ramy Kamel’s release is good news.
The journalist’s freedom came 1 day after Coptic Christians celebrated Christmas.
The end of his detention marks an answer to prayer and the completion of two 45-day extensions of prison time.
Commenting on his release, The Australian Coptic Movement Association said:
“Ramy was arrested in November 2019 for speaking out on the plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Ramy is a peaceful individual who spoke factually regarding the plight of Egypt’s Copts. We thank everyone that joined us over the past 2 years in prayer and action.”
Al Arabiya reported that Kamel’s family announced the news, with Ramy’s sister, Bossi Kamel posting on Facebook: “Rami is among his family…time to celebrate!”
Arabiya also cited the concerns of rights groups regarding how solitary confinement has impacted Kamel’s overall mental and physical health.
The Dubai based news organisation acknowledged that Coptic Christians have ‘long faced sectarian discrimination and endured intermittent sectarian attacks, especially in remote, impoverished villages in southern Egypt.’
Such as, Arabiya said, ‘there have been incidents of Copts being forcibly evicted from their homes by Muslin neighbours.’
Updating readers on Kamel’s release, International Christian Concern explained,
“Coptic Christians are often subjected to blasphemy charges, mob attacks, kidnapping, extortion, sexual assault, and other types of violence simply because openly living their faith is considered offensive to their neighbours. Ramy Kamel is part of an ever-dwindling number of local public activists who work to raise awareness about these types of problems.”
In order to bridge solidarity, Caldron Pool has consistently pointed Westerners to the importance of Ramy Kamel’s example, and that of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
Kamel was arrested and held for dubious reasons.
The charge of “domestic terrorism” and “misuse of social media” brought against him is proof that lawfare labelling like this is ripe for abuse.
Reckless accusations without the proper motions of the due process give governments, clergy, and bureaucrats, the power to unjustly squash dissent in order to avoid accountability, reasoned opposition, and frequently, the truth.
As Al Jazeera noted, ‘Egypt’s space for dissent has been severely restricted since el-Sisi took office in 2014.’
Referencing rights groups, Al Jazeera then estimated that there are around ‘60,000 political prisoners being held in Egypt, many facing brutal conditions and overcrowded cells.’
Coptic Solidarity told Caldron Pool that Ramy Kamel is yet to make comments on his release, and apparent false imprisonment.
In a separate press release, Coptic Solidary pointed to Kamel’s two-year detention, ‘without trial’, stating they were pleased with the news, adding that there will be more ‘details to follow.’
They then thanked ‘partners and supporters who participated’ in initiatives to free Ramy, and ‘helped keep his case visible.’
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51