Egypt: Ramy Shaath released after 2½ Years of Arbitrary Detention

The Egyptian authorities have released the Egyptian activist, of Palestinian origins, Ramy Shaath, one of the founders of the “Israel Boycott Movement”, according to AFP, citing a judiciary source.

Egypt’s prosecution on Monday ordered the release of Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath, son of veteran Palestinian politician and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Shaath, after almost two and a half years in detention.

Shaath is the co-founder of Egypt’s pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

According to AFP, Shaath’s wife, French national Celine Lebrun said: “I heard about the decision but according to what I know, he is not yet out.”

Lebrun, who was deported from Egypt shortly after her husband’s arrest, added that she would release a statement once he is confirmed to be free.

Earlier on Monday, prominent MP Mohamed Anwar Sadat announced “an imminent decision to release” Shaath and deport him.

Shaath had surpassed his maximum two-year pre-trial detention period in July 2021 and remained in detention in Egypt’s Tora prison.

Shaath’s release comes months after a campaign advocating for his freedom was renewed so that he could be reunited with his father, who was suffering from severe deterioration of his health.

While in prison, his family said that Shaath had reported his own health issues as well as alarming prison conditions.

In August 2019, Shaath’s family said he been detained on charges of assisting a terrorist group, based on “findings” that he and his lawyer had not been allowed to examine.

Then he was placed on a terrorism list by an Egyptian court in April 2020, which carried an asset freeze and travel ban.

According to human rights sources, Shaath’s release came within the framework of an agreement to relinquish his Egyptian citizenship, which was the case in the last court session, where he signed the renunciation of citizenship, in order to be deported outside Egypt.

Shaath was arrested on 5 July 2019, from his home in Cairo, as part of a massive security campaign against political activists, parties, journalists, trade unionists and businessmen from various political backgrounds in the case known in the media as the “Cell of Hope”.

In April 2020, Shaath’s name was included on the Egyptian list of “terrorist entities and individuals”, in a decision highly criticized by NGOs and UN experts.

Shaath, who holds dual Egyptian and Palestinian nationalities, faced charges in case No. 930 of 2019, “restricting the security of a supreme state, with committing crimes of association with a group established outside the law.”

Shaath is a 50-year-old political activist, and one of the founders of the Constitution Party and the BDS movement in Egypt, whose demands included the withdrawal of economic investments and the imposition of sanctions on “Israel.”

He is the son of the political leader and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabil Shaath.