Release of Prisoner of Conscience Ramy Shaath

Press release
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January 08, 2022 - The undersigned non-governmental organizations celebrate the release of Ramy Shaath, a valiant human rights defender who has inspired many in the Palestinian and Egyptian rights communities with his bravery and courage. His release is a triumph for all his friends, family members, NGOs, parliamentarians and thousands of supporters worldwide; it confirms once again that standing up for human rights and speaking out persistently in the face of injustice can and does make a real difference.

The release of Egyptian-Palestinian rights activist Ramy Shaath brings an end to his painful, unjustified two-and-a-half-year ordeal behind bars in Egypt’s Tora prison. The NGOs deplore the fact that Shaath, who should have been released unconditionally and provided reparations for the harm suffered due to his wrongful detention, was compelled to renounce his Egyptian citizenship in order to secure his release.

Shaath was first arrested in July 2019, in his home in Cairo and in front of his wife Céline Lebrun-Shaath, solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and participation in public affairs. Céline, a French national, was then arbitrarily deported after being denied access to consular support, while Shaath was forcibly disappeared and then remanded into pretrial detention for more than two years in Case 930 of 2019. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considered his detention arbitrary as it stems solely from the exercise of his human rights.

More than 100,000 supporters in dozens of countries signed petitions calling on the Egyptian authorities to set Shaath free. His supporters also included hundreds of legislators from France, the United States, Germany, Belgium, and the European Parliament who made public statements demanding Shaath’s release. In addition, dozens of internationally known artists and public figures expressed solidarity with Shaath.

Shaath’s release does not end the need for international action on the Egyptian government’s abysmal human rights record, nor does it improve the situation for the countless prisoners who remain arbitrarily detained in Egyptian prisons. These include peaceful activists, human rights defenders, lawyers, academics, and journalists detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including many of those who were, like Shaath, initially detained pending investigations in Case 930 of 2019. Most of those who were also under investigation in the case remain wrongfully detained or are serving unjust sentences handed down in unfair trials related to other cases.

We call upon the Egyptian authorities to take immediate action to release all those arbitrarily detained for exercising their human rights, end the misuse of counter-terrorism legislation and remove Shaath and other peaceful activists and politicians from the country’s ‘’terrorists list.” We also call on the international community to support efforts to establish a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the human rights situation in Egypt at the UN Human Rights Council.

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