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Rami Kamil. Credit: CSW

Egypt

CSW concerned by continued detention of Coptic activist and targeting of his contacts

24 Mar 2020

CSW is concerned by reports that people close to detained Coptic human rights activist Rami Kamil have allegedly been harassed by the Egyptian authorities.

Mr Kamil was arrested in November 2019 and is facing unfounded accusations related to terrorism and national security. His detention has been extended on multiple occasions, despite the fact he has still not been formally charged or tried. It is widely believed Mr Kamil is being targeted because of his human rights work documenting violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

CSW's sources report that the security services have targeted Mr Kamil’s friends, lawyers and supporters with direct threats and harassment, both in person and online. In one incident, the Facebook account of one of his lawyers was hacked and accessed by 12 different devices. Others close to Mr Kamil have been threatened by their employers, a well-known tactic of the secret police, who pressure employers to intimidate employees whose activities are deemed problematic by the state.

A source close to CSW has suggested that one reason why the state continues to detain Mr Kamil is because he assisted the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing during her mission to Egypt, and the national security agency is particularly angry at the “internationalisation of Rami’s case.”

Egypt’s prisons are notorious for their poor hygiene conditions and are often overcrowded, prompting concern for Mr Kamil’s wellbeing in light of reports of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Egypt.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Kamil, and all those detained on account of their human rights work. Reports that his friends, supporters and lawyers have been targeted are deeply concerning, and we call on Egypt to bring an end to this harassment. We also welcome and echo the numerous international calls for the State to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders, and encourage the government to view them as natural allies in the creation of a just, equal and inclusive society.” 

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We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs